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Nationwide are cheapest

SouthAfrica.TO survey
7 March 2007 flights
surveyed on 9 Feb 2008

If anybody thought that Nationwide were going to roll over and die, after their being grounded in 2007, they were very very wrong (and to be quite frank, we had our doubts). Not only were all the grounded Nationwide aircraft found to be mechanically sound, but they are rolling out the cheapest flights to South African consumers (just like they did last year). Well done Nationwide Airlines.

Flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town
Bus trips from Johannesburg to Cape Town

British Airways

1200

Baz Bus (7 day pass)

site not working

Kulula Airline

1578

City to City bus

310

Mango Airline

1117

Greyhound bus

420

Nationwide Airlines

974

Intercape bus

330

1time Airline

1519

SA Roadlink bus

299

South African Airways

2099

Translux bus

400

Nationwide Airlines flight 2742 is scheduled to leave Johannesurg at 1850 on the 7th March 2008 and arrive in Cape Town at 2100 (flight time of 2 hours and 10 minutes) - the flight costs R974, a fair chunk less than other airlines are flying for.

Nationwide aircraft parked at Cape Town Airport

Very expensive flight prices

The flight prices you see in today's survey are the second highest average flight prices (R1442) we've recorded on the Johannesburg to Cape Town flight route. The previous highest average flight prices were for flights on the 21st September 2007 (R1490), on which we had a confluence of school holidays, a long weekend and the Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup in Cape Town. But there's nothing like holiday season to drive flight prices up.

Survey date

flight date

flight route

cheapest flight price

most expensive flight price

average flight price

9 Feb 2008

7 Mar 2008

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 974
(Nationwide Airline)

R 2099
(South African Airways)

R 1442

29 Dec 2007

25 Jan 2008

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 517
(Mango Airline)

R 1450 (South African Airways)

R 792

17 Nov 2007

14 Dec 2007

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 867
(British Airways)

R 1399
(1time airline and SAA)

R 1298

6 Oct 2007

2 Nov 2007

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 638
(Kulula Airways)

R1 394
(British Airways)

R 868

25 Aug 2007

21 Sep 2007

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 1241
(Nationwide Airline)

R 2026
(South African Airways)

R 1490

15 Jul 2007

10 Aug 2007

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 443
(Kulula Airways)

R 728
(British Airways)

R 568

2 Jun 2007

29 Jun 2007

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 499
(1time airline)

R 1292
(South African Airways)

R 756

21 Apr 2007

18 May 2007

flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town

R 499
(Mango Airline)

R 1007
(South African Airways)

R 705

As can be seen from the table above South African Airways has most frequently been most expensive airline with which to fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town; whilst Mango Airline, Kulula Airline and Nationwide have each been the cheapest twice.

South African Airways plane parked at Cape Town Airport

What does the Nationwide balance sheet look like?

Nationwide Airlines are the only major airline in South Africa whose balance sheet we have not seen. Now, whilst we would love to recommend buying their plane tickets, there is a lingering concern that their balance sheet may not be strong after their grounding in December 2007. We urge Nationwide Airlines to publish their balance sheet, so that potential passengers do not have to worry about them going insolvent and Nationwide tickets becoming valueless.

SA Roadlink cheapest bus trip

As has become the norm in our surveys, SA Roadlink are offering the cheapest bus trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town. An SA Roadlink bus leaves Johannesburg at 1000 on the 7th March 2008 and arrives in Cape Town at 0500 on the 8th March 2009, giving travellers a nice and early start to their Saturday. At R299, the SA Roadlink bus trip is only 31% of the cost of the cheapest Nationwide flight (and from a green point of view travelling by bus spews out far less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than flying).

Hotel prices in Cape Town

Once you get to Cape Town you may wish to book a hotel room. Here are some options for the evening of 7th March 2008, prices for 1 room, 1 adult and no children:

Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge

Courtyard Cape Town

City Lodge V&A Waterfront

Town Lodge Bellville

Road Lodge Cape Town Airport

Southern Sun V&A Waterfront

StayEasy Century City

Holiday Inn Garden Court De Waal

Sun InternatThe Table Bay (Waterfront)

1025

941

831

532

355

1710

546

730

no rooms

The Road Lodge at Cape Town International Airport is easily the cheapest accommodation of that surveyed (R355 for the night), whilst the Southern Sun Hotel at the V&A Waterfront is the most expensive (R1,710). Indicative of the demand for hotel rooms at this time of year, there are no rooms available at Sun International's The Table Bay hotel (at the V&A Waterfront).

BA planes at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport

Photo of BA planes taken (on 19 January 2008) from the international departures of Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport. Note the cranes in the background...roll on 2010.

British Airways planes parked at Johannesburg Airport

American in Cape Town

Californian in Cape Town

Devils Peak, Table Mountain and Cape Town cityIn this blog entry, Carl Vos from Claremont (California, not the Cape Town Claremont) shares pictures galore - of penguins, Table Mountain and Cape Point:

  • "they do have penguins in Africa" [editor: we weren't aware that this needed to be pointed out to people]

  • "sand that continued to pelt us in the face at 100 miles per hour"

  • "completely windswept and treeless plains"

  • "lunch stop in Hout Bay was truly stunning"

American in Cape TownEtaetzsch returns to South Africa

Etaetzsch tell us about the return trip to South Africa via London (about half the blog entry is about London). The flights to South Africa didn't start well, with an "older Australian man sitting next to me and all he wanted to do was talk"..."telling me...how many women are keen on him and he has also beaten up a few people in his day".

International flight news

VISAS to go to the UK?

Over the last year about 450,000 South African entered the UK without any VISAS, just carrying their passports which allow them to enter the UK for 6 months. All this may change. South Africans wanting to fly to the UK may require VISAS, if UK law enforcement agencies get their way. In a recent report:

  • An Al Qaeda cell had been placing people on flights from the UK to South Africa, and then onwards to Pakistan

  • The UK's Soca (Serious Organised Crime Agency) discovered a group that had smuggled 6000 people into the UK by providing them with forged South African passports. Indeed, the Chairman of Soca (Sir Stephen Lander) is leading the charge of those wanting to reintroduce VISA requirements for South Africans travelling to the UK.

What Ryanair flights have in common with Southwest


"We like to think in Ryanair we have a number of traits in common with Southwest. Firstly it's run by the drunken Irish, and we like to pride ourselves on our ability to party, and fly while over the limit. Secondly, the Irish and the Texans have a number of things in common like humility, religion, gun laws." Michael O'Leary (the man in charge of the Ryanair flight machine) speaking to staff at Boeing [who's biggest customer is Southwest]; as written in the book by Alan Ruddock: "A Life in Full Flight: The story of the man who made Ryanair take off".

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