$1,200 roundtrip from Los Angeles to Cape Town, South Africa might seem like a good price, until you know that the price drops to under $1,000 sometimes.
What is low roundtrip fare USA to South Africa?
Here is a roundup of low fares between select USA airports LAX, SFO, JFK and Johannesburg JNB and Cape Town CPT on April 2, 2015.
JNB Johannesburg, South Africa
My first observation is lower fares are found flying SFO-JNB compared to LAX-JNB.
$941 – Swiss Airlines San Francisco SFO-JNB Johannesburg, South Africa April 14-27, 2015. 11,052 miles each way SFO-ZRH-JNB.
Bookable on United.com in K booking class. Swiss Airlines website fare is $1,186 roundtrip.
Many dates May, June and July have airfares over $2,000 roundtrip for this route. $941 is a good deal for SFO-JNB.
SFO-JNB fares in 2015
Google Flights shows May 6 with the $941 rate and the next lowest rate in May is $1,229 on May 19 and May 26, with all other dates pricing from $1,723 to $4,002. The lowest fare in June is $1,398. Low fare in July $1,587. Lowest fare in August $1,414. September 22 offers a fare at $1,027 on Swiss, also available October 22. Only one other date in October is under $1,100. November 2015 fares drop to $1,049 for several dates. December sees fare rise to over $1,400 and up to over $2,000 for peak holiday dates.
LAX-JNB fares in 2015
In contrast to flights from LAX to Australia and New Zealand priced $100 to $200 lower than LAX departures, South Africa has the opposite situation with airfare currently priced $150 to $300 more for LAX departures.
April low airfare is $1,200 on Swiss flying April 8-21. The lowest fare in May is $1,160 on Tuesdays May 19 and May 26. These dates are lower than SFO. Most dates are over $1,500 roundtrip. Low fare in June was $1,432 on Google Flights, yet when I clicked that fare, the flights returned were Swiss at $1,236 roundtrip June 2-10. Fare rises to $1,402 if you want to stay two weeks. July low fare $1,628. Low fare in August has a few dates at $1,160 which is $250 less than SFO in August.
When I tried booking $1,160 flight on Swiss Airlines site, I was given a $3,000+ price. Orbitz returned the $3000+ price too. But United.com priced the ticket at $1,350. That is $190 more than Google Flights indicated, but $2,000 less than Swiss priced the same flights.
$1,349.60 LAX-JNB Aug 11-25 Swiss Airlines flights bookable on United.com.
$1,160 fare is listed for sporadic dates in September and October. The low fare drops to $1,049 in the last week of October with several weekday dates available at $1,049 in November.
LAX or SFO? Advice – Check both LAX and SFO for your desired dates.
The wide range in airfare prices for LAX-JNB and SFO-JNB means you should check both cities for the dates you want to travel. Flying to SFO or LAX on a separate ticket to start your South Africa flights may reduce airfare by hundreds of dollars.
Cape Town, South Africa
I researched fares for this article two days ago on Tuesday, March 31. To illustrate the temporal nature of airfare pricing, San Francisco SFO-CPT Cape Town priced at $957 roundtrip on Virgin Atlantic-British Airways 48 hours ago for September 2015. Today the lowest price in September is $1,345 roundtrip flying Swiss to Johannesburg and South Africa Airways JNB-CPT.
Low fares found for SFO-CPT are $1,345 on a few departure dates in April and May. Fare is $1,900 in June and July with one date in August at $1,490.
New York JFK – JNB Johannesburg, South Africa
Kind of like fares to Australia, airfare from the USA to South Africa is not much cheaper if you depart from the east coast. There are more dates with low fare availability though. Depending on the airfare from LAX, SFO or other US airports, traveling to JFK or ORD on a separate ticket might be the way to cut $100s off the airfare for your dates of travel.
JFK-JNB has low fare of $1,189 for several dates in April and May. A few dates in June are $1,248.
Swiss Airlines JFK- JNB round trip June 17 – July 7, 2015
Bookable on Swiss Airlines.
Swiss Airlines $1,247.51 JFK-JNB
Flights to JNB from JFK drop to $1,189 for numerous dates in August when airfare is $500+ more from SFO and LAX.
The real difference comes in late October and November when most dates are $907 flying JFK-JNB. If you must travel on a specific date, then there is a good chance you can save flying from the west coast to New York to start your trip.
Chicago ORD is another airport to check with low fares around $1,159 on many dates in the fall. Similar to JFK, ORD has more dates with low fares than LAX or SFO. You can fly on a separate ticket to Chicago ORD or New York JFK and likely save money compared to ticketing JNB direct from your airport, if you find high fares for your dates of travel.
These deals are selling out as I wrote this today for some dates before September. Obviously there are limited seats ZRH-JNB on Swiss Airlines.
Fares to JNB and CPT were under $1,000 two days ago, so this might be a situation to wait for better deals.