Business Class route to JHB and CT

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  LoveTravel 6 Dec 2008
at 18:43

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  • Anonymous


    Can anyone shed some light on why the business class fares London – Johannesburg and Cape Town remain so high?

    It used to be down to the lack of carriers but at the last count you have in the region of 8 direct flights a night an that is not even taking into account the airlines that route through Europe or the Gulf States.

    I recently took a flight with Virgin which is my first choice as I am a Gold Card holder and paid just short of £5000. Crazy stuff, on looking into it a little further I discovered that it is heavily weighted in the UK’s favour. The same ticket booked from JHB is a fraction of the cost in SA Rand!

    Anyway, I am ranting a little but as a frequent flyer to a number of destinations I find this route is always expensive when compared to other similar routes. Would love to know why?

    (As I write this I am aware that BA and VS are offering sale prices)


    The problem is that the UK-South Africa air services agreement is a restrictive one. That means BA and Virgin can’t operate as many flights as they would like so there’s a seat shortage.

    If you want a direct fly then best to opt for SAA. Travel agents are quoting a return fare of around £3,100 with SAA during the last week of November … a saving of £1,900 compared with BA/Virgin.

    Indirect flights are cheaper still. You can pick up a ticket with Emirates or Qatar for not much more than £2,100 during that time.

    If you travel regularly to SA and prefer direct flights then buy your tickets there to benefit from the weak Rand.


    I guess that is what I am asking? Why is this a restricted route? I hear what you say about the likes of Emirates but I find it take almost a day either side of your trip out of your schedule so would pay the premium to go direct if that makes sense. Thanks for the feedback.


    I got a sweet deal from my travel guys in London, £2600 ish direct with BA.

    You should try them, am I allowed to name drop here??


    First – Emirates business class is one of the worst business class cabins in the sky – if you can avoid them, do so. If you do go for an indirect option, Qatar is superb – its an official Skytrax certified 5-star airline so not much difference in time but much better product. Etihad are way better than Emirate too (similar sort of flight time).

    Pickles, who’d you get your deal through? I too know of someone who gets special rates with BA, Virgin and SAA – of the 3, I’d go for Virgin’s Upper Class or BA Club class – overnight flight and its flat beds so you should get a good nights sleep. With Virgin Upper Class you’d get to use the lounge at T3 – its out of this world! Best lounge of anywhere – by far!

    Let me know if you need more info.


    The best fare I could get was with BA and SA GBP2672.00 plus tax, VS was GBP2882.00 plus tax … all flights are direct from LHR.

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