New direct flight to Capetown

I got an e-mail this morning from United Airlines. Starting December 15, they are offering direct flights from Newark airport to Capetown. The only direct flight to Capetown from the US. 14 1/2 hours flight duration. I sure wish that there had been this option when we went!

Comments

  • edited November 2019

    Delta still flies non-stop from Atlanta to Johannesburg- their longest scheduled flight. We flew that to Z,SA,B. We spent the night at the Intercontinental Hotel at the airport and were refreshed and ready to go mid-morning for the short flight to Livingstone. I suspect you could do the same and fly to Capetown. For me spending the night almost there, was psychologically better than spending an extra night midway in Heathrow or Amsterdam.

  • I would have used the direct Delta flight, but for us it would have been 50% more than flying through Heathrow. We chose to fly through Heathrow and used the savings for a few days in London (my favorite city).

  • milmil
    edited June 25

    I'm flying Emirates. Sea-Dubai-Johann.
    3-hour layover in Dubai and I get to Johannesburg at 5:35 am then BA to Livingstone. I get into Livingstone around noon.

  • When is your tour supposed to be Mil?

  • milmil
    edited June 25

    British, I'm going Sept. 2022. still 2 years from now... too long. But I'm checking all the flights, connections, etc... the Emirates route works better for me from Seattle then flying through France or Netherlands on either KLM or Air F.
    I'm also flying to Jordan & Egypt (Tauck 2021) with them.

  • And Emirates is such a great airline!

  • Hi MCD
    Yes! I love Emirates Airlines , it is great... I try to fly with them as much as I can. For my next 2 Tauck tours I will use them, they offer great service and easy routes/schedules.

  • How do their fares compare? :o

  • Can I bring my emotional support camel on board?

  • Alan -- The one time I flew Emirates was to Hanoi (from Boston). The business class airfare was over $2,000 less than Tauck offered on the same flights. I may have just lucked out on that fare, but would say it's worth checking out if you're going somewhere they fly and the Dubai connection isn't too out of the way. I know you like to go to Africa. I've thought of them as an option if I ever go to sub-Saharan Africa. It would be worth paying a premium.

  • milmil
    edited June 25

    The Jordan-Egypt is $1,836. coach- $4,977.. Business. as of today from Seattle
    The Botswana, Zambia, Cape t. is $1,622 coach $4,994... business as of today
    I did round trip to India for $900.00 coach. a while ago. They have a section between Business and coach
    that has only 5 rows. with the best coach seats and they are super comfortable.
    Animals behave better then humans... sure bring them on... :))

  • This discussion got me interested in what costs from Tucson might be for a business class ticket for this tour. I used next April as a target date, since I think that is right after the rainy season and Victoria Falls water should be as good as it gets. I discovered an interesting thing on the American website. Not sure if other airlines are similar. Always in the past you got two prices for a business class ticket - a No Changes Allowed version and a Flexible option. They only have the Flexible option these days. In the past there was a considerable savings to be had if you took the risk and selected the No Changes Allowed version over the flexible option. The current best option from Tucson to Livingstone and then from Cape Town back to Tucson in the time period I described above was $4300 - $4600 per person round trip.

    I wonder if the No Changes Allowed version was still an option if prices might be down in the $3000 - $3400 range.

    It seems to me that, at least for American, the new mantra is to only allow the flexible option and the corresponding ticket price.

    Are other airlines doing a similar thing? Seems like they must because when I looked for the same flight above via Expedia or Google flights I got the same price, meaning that American isn't way more expensive than others because it only offers the Flexible option.

  • I think the airlines are either screwing with us, having trouble with their software, trouble scheduling flights, trouble keeping their sites updated, or all of the above. I've been tracking flights from RDU to J&E both on Delta and American for January and March. AA has only been showing "flexible" prices. (We have Delta tickets but there is a problem with those- missing leg.) Every now and then the price will go crazy- even higher than the flexible price. Delta still shows two prices, they don't use the term "flexible" like American, but I believe, based on their COVID policy you get about the same flexibility with the regular changeable, not refundable tickets as you do with the much more expensive "refundable" tickets. In the first case the refund might be a voucher, however. We never get the flexible tickets, too expensive and have never had a problem- I figure those tickets are for corporate travelers whose ticket costs are passed along to us consumers! :#

  • Alan, do you have the option of Turkish Airlines or one of its affiliates (I got United miles for my flights)? When I had to scramble to get a flight home from Amman in March, I came home on Turkish, and was so pleased with it that I booked it for my flights next March.

  • MCD
    5:41PM
    Alan, do you have the option of Turkish Airlines or one of its affiliates (I got United miles for my flights)? When I had to scramble to get a flight home from Amman in March, I came home on Turkish, and was so pleased with it that I booked it for my flights next March.

    We would need to connect from/to RDU JFK or Dulles on Jet Blue or United, but the connections can be booked on the Turkish website, I assume on the same ticket, so not an issue.

    I checked Turkish out awhile ago and for some reason, which escapes me now, wrote them off. I just took another look. The layover at IST would be about 4 hr, we'd have close to that in CDG or AMS on Delta, but it looks like IST is a fabulous airport and the Turkish business lounge there looks really nice. Their business price was competitive, too, especially if we selected their "best fare combo" via Toronto (unfortunately with 777-300ER for long legs). If can make Delta work I'd pay about the same, since I booked awhile ago and my fare was several hundred lower than it is now, just a bit more than budget dust which is easily overcome with convenience, amenities, etc. The only negative was aircraft. Outbound to IST on the flight we would select is currently scheduled to be on a 787-9, a great aircraft with great seats, but unfortunately, the inbound would be on a 777-300ER with 2 - 3 - 2 seating, not our favorite. But, Turkish is a definite contender. Thanks, now I have more flights to track!! :#

    I can't really do anything until I find out what COVID19 and Tauck are going to do about our January departure. Gotta hate this situation.

  • Does anyone know if it is still the case that there are only 12 airports in the US that are taking flights from abroad, due to the Covid crisis? That has certainly been the case which is why we had to Fly Back home via to Boston and not directly to Philadelphia in March, which is not one of the 12 Airports. This could be why some of the legs on people’s flights have disappeared

  • AlanS - I can second MCD's praise for Turkish Airlines and your assessment of the business class lounge in Istanbul (mine, of course, is a pre-COVID assessment from September 2019 - the lounge was spectacular). I flew to/from Istanbul from/to Toronto with Istanbul to Tel Aviv and Amman to Istanbul connectors. The connector flights weren't very long and they were during the day when you weren't trying to sleep, thus wanting a lie flat seat. Both directions across the Atlantic were in lie-flat seat accommodations. The service and food were also great. Turkish Airlines is known to run super bargains from time-to-time so keep your eye on them. Since it sounds like you have some flexibility with your across the Atlantic departure/arrival port you may be able to take advantage of one of these bargains.

  • edited June 26

    MCD
    5:41PM
    I came home on Turkish, and was so pleased with it that I booked it for my flights next March.

    Smiling Sam
    7:58PM
    AlanS - I can second MCD's praise for Turkish Airlines and your assessment of the business class lounge in Istanbul. . . .

    Well, guys, I did some more research, including checking out the business class seats on the 777-300ER. Turkish has jumped ahead of the AA/Royal Jordanian option, if Delta doesn't work out. We had a 2 - 3 - 2 arrangement on Ethiopian Air on the way to K&T some years ago and it wasn't too bad. I had forgotten about the ottomans- and all the foot room. For the starter, did they serve and did you try the "Best of Turkish Meze" from the trolley? Ethiopian did something similar with their national favorites. I though Injera bread was weird!

    My concern, like a lot of folks, is how long should I wait before I bail on Delta- my ace in the hole for them is they can't provide what I booked so it should be easy to get a cash refund, especially when I paid with my Delta/AMEX card. Hopefully Tauck will decide early enough that I won't need to do anything difficult. The worst case scenario would be if for whatever reason Tauck makes a late decision to cancel after I have switched to Turkish Air. In any case, there is nothing I can do now other to wait and follow what is going on in the world and what the airlines are doing.

    Thanks.

  • The in-flight service will probably change due to COVID, but here are photos of my entree (sea bass en papilotte) and the dessert service on Turkish. The thing that looks like a red flower on my tray was a roasted red pepper. The chef allowed me to keep the salt and pepper shakers. (I don't remember the starter.)

  • edited June 26

    I wish I had taken photos of our seats on Qatar. We are completely enclosed and wouldn’t need to be disturbed by a trolley showing someone else being served. I don’t have years of experience traveling at business class level, but it’s the best we have experienced. Now that we regularly travel business class, I feel so thrilled to sit in that section every time we get on a plane and love how the attendants treat us. Why they don’t treat everyone like that is a mystery, but like everything else, money obviously equals courtesy.
    Our first K and T was in economy, our Botswana tour had to be economy because there were no business class seats, Australia and then a couple of years later New Zealand were in Premium economy. Back then, it made more economic sense to arrive an extra two or three days early, much cheaper to pay for an overnight in the destination hotel than the cost of a business class seat. It also aids with jet lag. We have found that traveling business class does nothing extra for jet lag. So anyone reading this thread, if business class, seat configured and fancy food are out of your budget, this way is an excellent substitute. We felt that we would rather be able to take more vacations back then than pay the expensive cost of business class air prices. In fact, our recently canceled Croatia tour, we had booked Premium Economy because such short flights are barely worth the price of business class.

  • Just a note. When we were waiting to board our Turkish Airlines flight from Toronto to Istanbul we counted 22 staff ( not sure what to call them all - flight attendants, chefs, etc.) boarded the plane prior to boarding.

  • edited June 26

    British
    7:11AM edited 9:36AM
    I wish I had taken photos of our seats on Qatar. We are completely enclosed and wouldn’t need to be disturbed by a trolley showing someone else being served. I don’t have years of experience traveling at business class level, but it’s the best we have experienced. Now that we regularly travel business class. . . . . .

    It is hard, after trying business once, to return to sitting in the back. :o Unfortunately, for our wallet, we tried Business on our second Tauck tour. :D Also, my wife is not a big fan of flying and would rather travel instantly to our destination by "Star Gate" or "Transporter," :D while I look at flying as part of the overall experience! :D Long Commercial Business/First flights sure beat flying for just a few hours hours strapped tightly and fully upright to a nearly rock hard military tactical jet ejection seat!!

    I looked seriously at Qatar- I'd love to fly their new a350-1000 with cubicles! Delta, out of the blue, just retired their newly refurbished 777-200's. All of them had suites in business- we were scheduled for one leg on one this past March. :'( Depending on how things work out, in January we may have one leg a new Delta A350-900 with suites .

    Did you and MrB sit in the center seats, facing forward or aft? Unfortunately for us, for our J&E trip, there are two major drawbacks. First, our connection from RDU would leave at 0600- which means we would need to leave home at 0200 and drive to RDU in the middle of the night or drive to Raleigh the day/evening before, stay in a hotel, and still get up early around 0330. We are not morning people (until we get in the routine, early goes on Tauck tours are tough on us! :D ). Also, due to connections, etc. the fastest homeward bound routing Qatar from Cairo to RDU is 30 hours- more than 10 hours longer than of my other options!

    Maybe someday.

  • Alan, having flown on Qatar on two vacations, each with more than one leg, we have actually tried all the variations. The double bed option is cool! But we do wear pajamas on a plane 😜.
    I’m surprised you are not morning people. Mr B can sleep forever, I have no problem getting up for Tauck but when we travel independently it’s so tempting to sleep longer....which is why we like the discipline of Tauck.

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