Travelers going from the US to South Africa will have several airport combinations to choose from. Those looking for cheap tickets will be a little more limited though, as the only direct flights go from New York and Washington, DC to Johannesburg and can cost much more. All others stop somewhere along the way, usually in Europe. This means that if you’re a budget traveler coming from the west coast, you may have 2-3 connections.
Flights from the East Coast of the US to South Africa will be cheaper and involve fewer connections that those from other areas. In South Africa, most flights land in Johannesburg, and from there you can connect to other major cities in the country.
South Africa is served by many airports – nearly every large city has one – which makes flying within the country easy and often quite affordable. You can usually find a better deal at larger airports (flying into smaller airports may require a connection, which can drive the price up), so you should look for flights into Johannesburg’s O. R. Tambo Airport , which is the busiest airport in terms of international traffic. The second busiest is the Cape Town International Airport.
When flying out of USA there are plenty of airports to choose from, though only JFK and Dulles offer nonstop flights. Otherwise, your best bet is to fly to an East Coast hub, connect in Europe (try to schedule a 1-2 day layover if you can) and then onward to South Africa.
Best airline choices
Direct flights to South Africa from USA are offered by the following airlines:
- South African Airways
The ticket prices for flights to South Africa from the USA will be at their most expensive during the winter high season (summer in the US) and over the holidays in December. During this time, tickets can range from $1000 to $1800 (or more) per person. During off-peak times, price can be lower, but not by much. You’ll be very lucky to find a fare for under $900 from the East Coast.
Money saving tips
Booking your ticket further in advance can help you find a good deal. Also be prepared to deal with multiple connections if you want to lower your fare. Of course, you can make the most of these connections by scheduling longer layovers in Europe or northern Africa along the way.
You can compare the options on sites such as Expedia, Travelocity or Priceline. Also look into flying into Johannesburg and then taking a low-cost South African carrier to your final destination.