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Airfares to and thru Africa can be the most expensive of all international tickets, because little competition exists between airlines on the continent..

South Africa Airlines has a virtual monopoly on service between Africa and North America as they provide the only direct service between the two Continents. Malaysia Airlines has one flight a week between Buenos Aires and Cape Town, but  South Africa Airways dominates the rest of the South American market as well. Qantas has a routing from Australia but it only competes with you guessed it South Africa Airways. 

Several airlines do compete in the Asian markets and fares are sometimes extremely reasonable for points between some countries in Asia and Africa. Europe tends to have the best fares to African destinations because many European national airlines have service to Africa and several African Airlines beside South Africa Airways have service to Europe.

There are several strategies which can save a significant amount of money for travel too and thru Africa.

 

  • Internet Search Engines Travelocity and a few other travel sites have negotiated special fares to Africa.

  • Internet Sale Fares: follow this link to sale fares of some African airlines

  • Low fare Airlines: use our low fare airline locator to see which discount airlines service your destination

  • Airport Web Sites: Many times the airport you are traveling to will provide valuable money saving advise.

  • Consolidators: Several consolidators offer some bargains to Africa destinations.

  • Seasonal Fares Save by knowing when the fares go up leaving a day earlier could save a great deal.

  • Back to Back Ticketing  find out how to buy two tickets for less than one and see Europe and Africa.

  • Children and Senior Fares Which airlines offer discounts and how much.

  • Student Airfares: Several companies offer savings programs for youths, teachers and students.

  • Auction Sites Several auctions sites have begun selling tickets offering tremendous savings

  • Air Courier Tickets are briefly discussed both the pros and the cons of this travel.

  • Packaged Deal  sometimes offer better prices than the airline ticket alone.

  • Air Passes and newly introduced Circle Africa fares are discussed at this link.

  • Around the World Fares The dream of many may cost far less than you imagined.

  • Travel Agents: still offer a valuable service and if you are not satisfied talk to one, many time they can help.

Internet Search Engines

 

More than a dozen major booking engines are listed to the left of this paragraph. Each travel site will open in a new window for a quick comparison of who offers the best deal. Travelocity, seems to enjoy a special relationship with South Africa Airways and on many occasions offer special web fares. Hotwire Hot-Fares! sometimes offer the most significant savings of all especially for last minuet bargains.

 

Opodo enjoys a relationship with several carriers from Europe to this region. This is an area where back to back ticketing works very well. For more information on the companies listed on the left please see the Fare Search Engine page.

 

Africa Low-Fare Airlines

 

Although very few exist, some low-fare airlines have surfaced  in recent years. Many of these airlines offer fares so low they are not noted in standard internet search engines. For a quick search of routings of inexpensive carriers please feel free to use our: Discount Airline Locator Tool.

 

Internet Sale Fares

 

Many major airlines offer promotional fares at their primary websites; and sometimes they do not share these fares with the  fare search engines listed above. The airlines sell  tickets directly to the public; called by a variety of names, the unpublished fares are many times the lowest airfares available.  Unfortunately as we stated before very little competition exists on the continent of Africa and rarely do we see fare sales in prime seasons. Two airline web sites to check for special sales are South Africa Airways and Ethiopian Airways.

Certainly not all the airlines that service Africa are from the same continent. European Airlines that are known to offer frequent discount fares to Africa are British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Alitalia,  SN Brussels, and El-Al in Israel. Most of these airlines also allow a free stopover in their home country on the way to Africa.

Unsure which airline services your destination please use our timetable search page which also provides direct links to all the airlines. You may also display a list of each countries airlines by highlighting the country name in the drop down menu of this sites airline search page. You will be able to view each airlines web site, route network and the promotional fares currently offered from all the airlines.

Airport Web Sites

World Airport Locator: Airports offer advise to travelers that can save a great deal of money.  Many have begun offering discount airline sections and most will provide information as to which airline service a particular city.  Sometimes a lesser known airport in a city may be serviced by smaller discount airlines unknown to most airports.  The link at the top of this section will investigate all the airports of a particular city or country.

Consolidators

 

Travel agencies sometimes known as "bucket shops" or "consolidators" frequently buy tickets in volume from airlines they have a relationship with. These tickets are sold at a significant discount and can save the consumer a great deal of money over normal fares. A few companies have begun selling tickets over the internet and many times the fares they offer are even lower than some Fare Sales.

Economy Travel is our favorite company for discount airline tickets to Africa but three other companies to consider are Cheap Tickets,  Discountfares, and One Travels White Label offerings.

 
Seasonal Fares

 

International travel to Africa although never a bargain can be less expensive certain times of the year, for summer travel the prices rise substantially and discounts are difficult to come by.  Many airlines  have different dates when the premium season begins and ends.  The consumer who makes himself aware of the premium seasons can save substantially on travel in this region. In Africa some carriers consider summer from June 1 to Sep 30th others just July and August.  Sometimes starting travel a few days earlier can save a great deal of money.

 
Back to Back Ticketing

 

This strategy is best implemented for fares originating outside of  Europe.  Back to Back ticketing works especially well for flights originating in North America and Asia. 

Many Africa fares are less expensive if you buy two tickets as opposed to one.  It is usually less expensive to buy two separate tickets one from North America to Europe and another from Europe to Africa than a single ticket to an African city. This also allows two different vacations one in Europe and another in Africa.  Best cities to book these fares to and from are London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Athens, Prague, Budapest and Istanbul.

Be careful to allow plenty of time for connections and if possible use the same airline for both portions of journey.  In most cases if you miss a connecting flight you will be held responsible for the missed connection and this could seriously impact your vacation plans.  If the same airline caused the delay and is they are the reason you missed the connection, that airline may assume some responsibility and allow you to continue journey on next available flight. If you can not book on the same airline consider spending at least one night in the connection city.

 
Children and Senior Fares

 

Many European and African airlines offer discounts ranging from 20% to 33% for children fares originating in Europe. Family fares and the age restrictions for acquiring these fares fluctuate in the region and you are best served by checking with each  airline directly. 

Seniors generally receive a ten percent discount on the base fare but this fare may offer no savings or actually cost more than some sale fares..  Use our toll free telephone link for airline numbers. A great source of travel for Senior is Smarter Living's FREE monthly Senior Traveler Newsletter; Sign up and receive timely travel discounts.

Student Fares

 

Many independent consolidators cater to youth, students and even some allow fares to be purchased by teachers. STA Travel is a pioneer and the leading provider of these fares. The fares while somewhat competitive in off seasons can offer substantial savings for travel in Summer and other peak travel times.  Travelocity has a section dedicated to these fares and ISE Cards also has some great offerings in the Student flight section of the web page.

 

Find money-saving discounts just for students from spring break trips to weekend getaways, in Smarter Living's monthly Student Traveler Newsletter! Click here to subscribe for FREE.

 

Auction Sites

 

SkyAuction.com is a great site and many times offer airline and packaged deals for travel to a few African destinations. This site has offered some tremendous savings on Safari Packages as well as South African Airline tickets, and should be investigated by anyone seriously interested in less expensive travel to Africa.  

Priceline has long engineered extensive consumer savings, but you must first be aware of what  price to offer.  If you have tried all the methods above and are still not satisfied with the lowest price you received, you may submit a bid to Priceline.

You could try a bid as low as twenty-five percent below the lowest price you are aware of, but seldom are these bids accepted.  We have seen bids ten percent below the lowest price accepted, and it is worth a try. A great site for trying to determine what your bid should be is Bidding for travel, where information about recently accepted bids is available

E bay has expanded its travel section recently and sometimes offers outstanding values although we have not seen many offers for travel to Africa.

The above sites are auction sites and your bid is binding, you will be required to pay the charges once the bid is accepted.  Make certain you know how much the airline tickets are worth before you bid at the above sites.  Remember your bid is not an inquiry like the other sites mentioned above.  Your bid  is a binding contract to purchase the tickets!

 

Air Courier Tickets

 

These flights are extremely restricted but if you can actually meet all the requirements,  they are some of the least expensive tickets available.  You will be expected to give up most of your luggage space in return for this low cost ticket.  Usually you will have to join an organization that will provide you with availability information. Please make yourself aware of all the restrictions before purchasing a ticket this way. A search of the words air courier will display many organizations that offer this fare.  Many people have reported problems with this type of travel and a thorough investigation of the company should be conducted.

 

Packaged Deals

 

Many times packaged deals, a combination of hotel, car rental and airfare are less expensive than the airfare alone. Surprisingly some Safari packages are  less expensive than just the airfare. InfoHub  supplies a variety of bargain packages and more appear in the  Travel Deals section of this web site.

Many of us shy away from packaged vacations because we feel the tours are heavily restricted. Most of the tours do not limit the length of the stay to just the number of nights proposed by the package.  In most cases you may be able to stay longer for no additional costs. Many times the restrictions on air travel for packaged tours are less than discount airfares.

 

Air Passes

 

Several companies have recently introduced Circle Africa fares and they are discussed at the Circle Fare page. Air passes are extremely rare in this region but a few great values are discussed in the Africa Air Pass section of this site.

 

Around the World Fares

 

Around the world airfares are infrequently the least expensive alternative, but are usually the most flexible ticketing option.  If you are considering travel in Business or First Class for a very long journey, these itineraries tend to be reasonably priced. 

Around the World tickets require travel across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Many different Around the World fares exist; the best we feel for extensive travel in Africa is the one offered by the World Traveler group which allows for virtually limitless travel on a host of airlines including two premier African Airlines.

 

Travel Agents

 

Talk to a travel agent, many of them are well informed and may have special knowledge of some consolidator fares not listed here. Unfortunately the airlines have cut commissions on airfares to such modest levels that most travel agents no longer wish to book agendas for air travel only. Most travel agents may not even be able to find a fare as low as the one you have been quoted. 

If you tell the agent, you have already performed an exhaustive Internet search; they may not be very interested in helping. Almost certainly additional fees will be added to any ticket price.

 

Travel Within Africa

 

Air Travel in Africa is still highly regulated and many national airlines have established some of most expensive fares of any region. Competition in most countries is non existent but times are changing and some discount fares of new emerging airlines have recently come to light. Air Botswana, and Hewa Bora, have implemented some reasonable internet fares on their sites for travel. South African carriers Kulula Airlines, and Nationwide have brought reasonable fares to the destinations they service.

 

 

 

 
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