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Flying South for the winter - Cape Town for Christmas

Flying South for the winter - Cape Town for Christmas

Old Oct 26, 17, 2:30 pm
  #1  
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Flying South for the winter - Cape Town for Christmas

We have had flights booked for some time now to Cape Town for Christmas. Some friends now wonder if they could join us for the second week of our holiday.

I have looked on sky scanner and google flights but even economy is pricing up as more than we spent on Club World flights with BA. Cheapest option for them seems to be TK via BHX which is £2800 for 2 adults, 2 children. They would love to fly in a premium cabin but it bothers them far less than it would us, so will consider all options.

Am wondering about them doing an ex-EU with BA to see if this saves them some money? They wouldn't mind originating from a relatively simple EU destination but anything too complex would probably out them off.

Is there a simpler way to do this rather than entering each and every EU BA destination on ba.com? My gut feeling is that in economy it is probably not worth the hassle but if a decent J fare was found for a bit more it might swing things.
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Old Oct 26, 17, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by badoc View Post
My gut feeling is that in economy it is probably not worth the hassle but if a decent J fare was found for a bit more it might swing things.
You might get them a trip in CW for little more than the cost of an economy ticket. But you are cutting things fine for Christmas because IIRC many of the cheap ex-EU fares to ZA are 60-day AP, you will not now get a trip that includes Christmas on those fares, and the window for getting there by New Year's Eve is rapidly dwindling. In addition, for dates around then you may now struggle to get I class availability - possibly more difficult on the inbound half than the outbound half.

Don't forget to look for flights to JNB and take up one of the easy connection options to CPT. Availability may be better, fares may be significantly cheaper, and there are some nice ways of doing JNB-CPT.
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Old Oct 26, 17, 4:11 pm
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Good thought, I hadn't considered JNB to be a cheaper point in this. The good news is it's O/B on Dec 30th, so some days to play with.

I'll take a look at that, thanks.

Is there a way to search for ex-EU fares online or should they simply enlist a travel agent?
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Old Oct 26, 17, 4:43 pm
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With BA your best bet would be starting in Amsterdam. You're looking at £1581 to JNB & £1987 to CPT out Saturday 30th back Tuesday 9th. Bringing the return forward to the Saturday or Sunday will double the price I assume thanks to school holidays. Economy Sat 30th-Sat 6th direct from London is over £1,500 (and more for ex AMS) so there aren't really any cheap options.

Your best price with some flexibility on dates would be Ethiopian from Dublin with 1 brief stop in Addis Ababa (supposably a good experience on 787, A350 & 777). Depending on age of children I can think of worse places to spend New Years Eve than Dublin! Travelling out 1st Jan, back Monday 8th comes in at £1228 which is a great price for lie flat business to Cape Town at this time of year. Removing some of the hassle you can leave from Dublin on 1st & return to London for £1783 (Mon 8th) or £2038 (Sat 6th but with a 5hour stop in Addis Ababa).

I would advise they play around with Google Flights to explore options, it's pretty straightforward. I'm not sure many of the mainstream travel agents will do the digging for you on itineraries like this and generally once you've found nailed down your choices then it's best to book direct with airline.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 1:12 am
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Yeah forget BA metal down to CPT direct from LHR as it would cost you a small fortune for a Y seat now for Christmas dates. I would also recommend trying to price up via JNB then adding on a connection to CPT using the airlines that operate that route ( BA(Comair)/SAA/Flysafair/Mango/Kulula). Another airport to consider is Durban , you would be surprised at prices depending on dates. It would obviously be school holidays in South Africa as well , and flight to CPT from JNB would be rammed full.

Keep us updated please on what their final routing is , if they do come. Being Cape Town based , they can not choose a better place for Christmas - as long as they aren't murdered

P.S. - DO NOT forget about the current immigration requirements for children U18 traveling without both biological parents when entering SA.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 1:15 am
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Originally Posted by badoc View Post
Is there a way to search for ex-EU fares online or should they simply enlist a travel agent?
Use ITA matrix or Google flights, both of which allow you to input multiple possible start points (5 in the case of Google, many more than that in ITA).
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Old Oct 27, 17, 1:19 am
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Originally Posted by badoc View Post
...
Is there a way to search for ex-EU fares online or should they simply enlist a travel agent?
Use Google Flights and select BA or OneWorld. It lets you search for upto five departure points and destinations at once and you can then use the calendar to find the cheapest dates overview.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 1:24 am
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Originally Posted by Flame3601 View Post
Yeah forget BA metal down to CPT direct from LHR as it would cost you a small fortune for a Y seat now for Christmas dates. I would also recommend trying to price up via JNB then adding on a connection to CPT using the airlines that operate that route ( BA(Comair)/SAA/Flysafair/Mango/Kulula). Another airport to consider is Durban , you would be surprised at prices depending on dates. It would obviously be school holidays in South Africa as well , and flight to CPT from JNB would be rammed full.

Keep us updated please on what their final routing is , if they do come. Being Cape Town based , they can not choose a better place for Christmas - as long as they aren't murdered

P.S. - DO NOT forget about the current immigration requirements for children U18 traveling without both biological parents when entering SA.


Great place, just take care.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 2:14 am
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Thanks all, will have a play around today. Have lived in Cape Town previously and been there lots of times since, on my last trip (just over 2 years ago) it felt a great deal safer than any previous trip, and had clearly moved with the times. It does still need caution though, like any major city with a big equality gap, I agree.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 2:28 am
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Originally Posted by londonsean69 View Post
Use ITA matrix or Google flights, both of which allow you to input multiple possible start points (5 in the case of Google, many more than that in ITA).
Originally Posted by TeflonMan View Post
Use Google Flights and select BA or OneWorld. It lets you search for upto five departure points and destinations at once and you can then use the calendar to find the cheapest dates overview.
These are good tools for finding the routes on which the cheapest fares may be.

ITA is also good for giving you an accurate view of the booking classes and fare bases used for pricing each fare, and can quickly identify alternative approaches that might prove to be better than whatever you first thought of, especially if you switch off the availability checker to see what the theoretical lowest fares look like. For example, is there an alternative origin or destination that might prove to be cheaper? Could there be a significant difference in total cost of travel if you change airports? And so on.

However, availability checking may not be 100% using either of those tools. Also, if you're buying an ex-EU fare, you need to be aware that availability shown to the market of trip origin may be different from that shown to the UK market, and either of those tools could in theory show you misleading results if that makes a difference (especially if, for example, you discover you're chasing the last two I class seats on a particular flight).

In contrast, ExpertFlyer should show you accurate UK market availability. If you find you're chasing the last seats somewhere and it really makes a difference, that can be worth its weight in gold. But obviously, you have to do quite a lot more hard work yourself in reading the availability displays and interpreting what they might mean for the fares you can actually buy for any particular travel dates.

And finally on ex-EUs: Make sure you have thought through and talked through with your friends all of the implications of doing this. For example, what is their plan A for checked bags, and what is their plan B? Are they going to back-to-back in AMS (or wherever), and which EU points are better for back-to-back? Might they fall into the trap of thinking that leaving 2 hours between flights at the EU point is safer than a back-to-back? (It isn't.) Will they fly the whole itinerary on the inbound half? What is their cost of positioning to/from the EU point? And so on. There's lots of advice here already on all of those things, if you look for it.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 2:55 am
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We were in SA for Xmas 2015 and went with Kenya Airways LHR-NBO-JNB and it was a great experience for the price. Would highly recommend it if prices work.

Have spent quite a lot of time on ITA Matrix researching flights for next year, albeit in May so a different demand profile compared to over Christmas...As mentioned above, cheapest was ARN-CPT via Addis Ababa (£1,100 each I think) on Ethiopian, but I ended up going with BA ex-AMS as we were happy to pay a bit more for (quite a lot) less hassle. It was half the price (ish) of going ex-LHR.

To clarify, this is all J.

Last edited by Horatio; Oct 27, 17 at 5:02 am
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Old Oct 27, 17, 2:56 am
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Originally Posted by badoc View Post
Thanks all, will have a play around today. Have lived in Cape Town previously and been there lots of times since, on my last trip (just over 2 years ago) it felt a great deal safer than any previous trip, and had clearly moved with the times. It does still need caution though, like any major city with a big equality gap, I agree.
And just remember we have a water crisis here in Cape Town. We love to have tourists, but we would like them to stick to the same water saving regime we do. One example is: no baths and just a two minute shower.
The reason our cars are all dirty is that we are not allowed to wash them anymore (this is not a joke). Only car washes that use recycled water are allowed.
Etc etc.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 3:48 am
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Originally Posted by thijsseh View Post
And just remember we have a water crisis here in Cape Town. We love to have tourists, but we would like them to stick to the same water saving regime we do. One example is: no baths and just a two minute shower.
The reason our cars are all dirty is that we are not allowed to wash them anymore (this is not a joke). Only car washes that use recycled water are allowed.
Etc etc.
Yes please go easy on the water consumption.
We are on Level 5 water restrictions , here is a infographic on what you can and cannot do right now in Cape Town in regards to water usage - will mostly like be a lot worse by the time you get here....

http://resource.capetown.gov.za/docu...Guidelines.pdf
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Old Oct 27, 17, 4:23 am
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I'd be wary of the CPT direct BA flights in Y as they use BA's legacy fleet (772's and 747's). I'd much rather go via JNB and have the current fleet (A380) with a short hop at the other end.

The prices also support that approach too. e.g. For January, i'm finding AMS-LHR-JNB-LHR/(LGW-AMS) for £370, compared to £600 to AMS-CPT or £720 LON-CPT. Flight + Car prices are only marginally above flight only, so that may reduce overall expense too.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 6:33 am
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We go to SA for Christmas regularly (wife's family), who are in Durban. Usually book way ahead, this year we booked in March (Y for £550 in the school holidays, bargain!) We're a family of 4.

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