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Airlines Flying to South Africa From the US

Updated on February 10, 2013

Which Airlines Fly Direct From the US to South Africa?

In considering a surf trip to South Africa, I was searching for a list of the airlines that fly direct from the US to South Africa. It was a frustrating experience, many sites indicating they had information on which airlines flew direct to South Africa didn't provide me with the information promised on the search results page. In the end I found that only two airlines offer direct flights to South Africa.

I am familiar with flying cheap to Latin America and have written a few articles on the subject. Searching for flights to South Africa was a new experience for me and an enlightening one. I thought the flights would only be around 10 hours and there would be lots of direct flights to choose from, I was wrong on both accounts. I don't want to be changing planes in Senegal. I am sure it is an interesting place, but I just want to get to my destination without clearing customs one or two extra times. As I was researching for my own trip, I started keeping track of what I found and I'm presenting it here. I hope it helps you with your own flight planning.

The Two Airlines With Direct Flights From The US To South Africa

As of September 2010 there are only two airlines offering direct flights to South Africa. South African Airways fly out of New York (JFK). Delta Air Lines fly direct to South Africa out of Atlanta Georgia.

Here is the cost of those flights, including taxes and fees as of September 2010:

South African Airways from New York to Johannesburg $1,297 Flight Time 15 hrs 10 min

Delta Air Lines from Atlanta, Georgia to Johannesburg $1,166 15 hrs 40 min

Delta Air Lines is an airline most of us in North America are familiar with, here is a little information on South African Airways. They have 75 years of experience and offer more flights to South Africa than any other airline. They are a member of the Star Alliance. South African Airways have a fairly young fleet of aircraft, featuring the latest 4 engine Airbus A340-600.

A Direct Flight From The US To South Africa Doesn't Have To Be More Expensive

I don't want to have to make several connections to get to South Africa. If I've got to make a connection I would like it to be a connection that isn't too tight while at the same time doesn't involve a twelve hour or overnight layover. Also in doing this research, I found that theses indirect flights are not necessarily the cheapest flights to South Africa. In some cases the flight that was direct worked out to be the cheapest option.

For example, a return flight on South African Airways from New York non-stop to Johannesburg, South Africa was $895 before taxes and fees ($1,297 after taxes and fees). The flight is a direct flight from JFK and total flight time is 15 hours and 10 minutes. It was the only airline offering direct flights to South Africa from New York. There was one flight that was the same price yet the flight time was 28 hours and 50 minutes. No thanks.

Airlines Offering Connecting Flights to South Africa from the US

If I had to choose just one airline to fly to South Africa that was not a direct flight, I would choose Virgin Atlantic. They have great service (plus surfboards travel free, most airlines really ding you when you try to fly with your surfboard. I get enough dings when I'm surfing) and the connection is in London. If you are traveling from Los Angeles on the West Coast of the US to South Africa, Virgin Atlantic is a good option.

Here is a list of airlines flying from the US to South Africa.

Air France

American Airlines

British Airways

Continental Airlines

Delta Air Lines (offer direct service out of New York)


South African Airways


Virgin Atlantic

Learn to Surf in South Africa

South Africa has some of the best surf on the planet. Of course some of the breaks like Supertubes are for advanced surfers, but South Africa has some great beaches to learn how to surf. Learn How To Surf with Surfhow, a free web resource for beginning and intermediate level surfers. The pages within the site are like getting a free e-book on surfing.


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