10 Best Airlines to Fly to South Africa (2024 Updated)

by Flora
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Thinking of jetting off to the land where two oceans meet? Our guide on flights to South Africa is your ticket to finding the perfect airline for your African adventure. From luxury liners to budget-friendly options, we’ve got the scoop on the skies! Get ready to learn about the best airlines to fly to South Africa in 2024.

Welcome to the gateway of your dream trip to South Africa! Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first African escapade, the flight you choose is the first step of your incredible journey.

Gone are the days when traveling to South Africa felt like a distant dream. Today, it’s more accessible than ever, thanks to a variety of airlines offering both direct and indirect flights. From the bustling streets of New York City to the heart of Johannesburg, or a scenic stopover in the enchanting cities of Dubai or Doha, your options are as diverse as the South African landscape.

Each airline brings its own unique flavor to your travel experience. Imagine sipping a fine wine aboard Emirates, or enjoying the renowned hospitality of Qatar Airways. Maybe you’re looking to start your adventure from the moment you board with the lively spirit of South African Airways.

Whatever your preference, there’s an airline waiting to transform your travel into an experience in itself. Let’s dive into the best airlines to make your African dream a reality!

The best airlines to fly to south Africa right now

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Looking for the cheapest flights to South Africa? This is a game-changer: Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights).

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I’ve saved thousands using Going. Recently, I even found a $906 roundtrip fare from Boston to Cape Town during the late spring. Not bad!

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And if you’re into business/first class, you’ll definitely want to sign up for their Elite version, which saved me over $5,000 in 2023 alone. Trust me, it’s a small price for massive savings.

Now, let’s discuss the best way to fly to South Africa in 2024.

Best Airlines to Fly to South Africa

We’re here to guide you through the best airlines to go to South Africa, ensuring your trip starts smoothly. From luxury experiences to budget-friendly options, discover the perfect flight for your African adventure.

1. South African Airways

When it comes to flying to South Africa, South African Airways stands out as a top choice. SAA offers non-stop daily flights from New York to Johannesburg, plus a direct flight from Washington with a brief stop in Dakar, Senegal.

Once in Johannesburg, you can connect to nearly 20 destinations within South Africa and over 25 cities across Africa. Imagine flying directly into the heart of safari country, like the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, or jetting off to the majestic Victoria Falls.

South African Airways emerges as a premier choice for flights to South Africa, recognized for its excellence and reliability.
South African Airways emerges as a premier choice for flights to South Africa, recognized for its excellence and reliability.

What sets SAA apart? It’s been voted one of the “Best Airlines in Africa” for over a decade in Skytrax World Airline Awards. Their on-time record is impressive, with flights on time nearly 90% of the time. That’s crucial for those tight safari connections!

In Business Class, expect comfort with seats that recline a full 180 degrees into flat beds. Economy Class boasts more legroom than many competitors, making those long-haul flights a bit more bearable. And let’s not forget the South African wines onboard – a delightful prelude to the country’s rich wine culture.

The typical cost for a one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg is around $1053, offering a balance of comfort and value. SAA’s hub at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is your gateway to exploring this diverse and captivating continent.

2. Emirates

Flying with Emirates to South Africa is like starting your vacation the moment you board. Known for its luxurious approach to travel, Emirates offers an experience that’s hard to match. Flying from New York to Johannesburg for about $1060, you’re in for a treat.

Emirates is renowned for its state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment, spacious seating, and world-class service. The airline flies from various global locations, with a major hub in Dubai. This means a stopover in the vibrant city of Dubai, adding an extra layer of adventure to your trip.

Emirates' hub at Dubai International Airport is more than a transit point; it's a destination in its own right.
Emirates’ hub at Dubai International Airport is more than a transit point; it’s a destination in its own right.

With a fleet that includes the largest Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s, comfort is a given. Whether you’re in Economy, Business, or First Class, each seat is a promise of a relaxed trip. Economy offers adjustable headrests and over 3000 entertainment channels. Business Class ups the game with flatbeds and gourmet cuisine. And First Class? It’s all about private suites and even a Shower Spa!

Dubai International Airport, Emirates’ hub, is a destination in itself. It’s a crossroads of the world, making Emirates arguably the best airline to South Africa for those who love a side of adventure with their travel.

3. Lufthansa

With its main operations centered at Frankfurt International Airport and a secondary hub in Munich, Lufthansa stands out for its extensive network and top-notch service.

This airline isn’t new to the game. Founded in 1926, Lufthansa has grown into one of the world’s largest airlines, with a fleet of over 500 aircraft. They fly to key destinations in Africa, including Johannesburg, making it a go-to choice for travelers heading to South Africa.

Lufthansa ensures comfort, even in Economy class, prioritizing passenger well-being and providing a pleasant onboard experience.
Lufthansa ensures comfort, even in Economy class, prioritizing passenger well-being and providing a pleasant onboard experience.

Onboard, Lufthansa doesn’t skimp on comfort, even in Economy. Seats are roomier than average, and each comes with its own entertainment console. This means more space and fun, even on long flights. In Business and First Class, the experience is all about luxury, with top-tier amenities and service.

A ticket from New York to Johannesburg typically costs around $1,317. It’s a price that reflects the airline’s commitment to quality and reliability. Lufthansa is known for its punctuality, a big plus for travelers who value time.

4. Swiss

Swiss International Airlines, often just called Swiss, brings a unique blend of Swiss precision and hospitality to the skies. As part of the Lufthansa group, Swiss has its hub in Zurich and operates flights across continents, including to South Africa.

Flying Swiss is about experiencing a bit of Switzerland in the air. The airline’s focus on safety and efficiency is matched by its commitment to making passengers feel welcome. Even in Economy, you’re treated to Swiss hospitality, complete with real silverware and a chance to indulge in Swiss chocolate. Business Class offers a dreamier experience with lie-flat seats and direct aisle access for most.

Swiss Airlines excels for South Africa flights, emphasizing passenger comfort and adding distinctive Swiss touches for a superior journey.
Swiss Airlines excels for South Africa flights.

A one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg with Swiss typically costs around $980. It’s a premium price, but for a premium experience. Onboard, you can expect attentive service and a clean environment, even on long-haul flights.

Swiss stands out among airlines that fly to South Africa for its focus on passenger comfort and Swiss touches, like Movenpick ice cream and a wide selection of in-flight entertainment. The views of the Swiss Alps as you approach or depart Zurich are an added bonus, making Swiss a memorable choice for your journey to South Africa.

INSIDER TIP: Again, I highly recommend signing up for Going.com (Scott’s Cheap Flights) to find the best deals. Last year, I got an email alert on a $1050 roundtrip fare from Boston to Cape Town with British Airways. The premium version is 100% worth the money, but I would at least sign up for the free version to save big on airfare this year.

5. Etihad

Flying with Etihad Airways is like getting a taste of luxury from the United Arab Emirates. Established in 2003, Etihad, based in Abu Dhabi, has quickly made a name for itself as a provider of luxurious and efficient air travel.

Etihad’s attention to detail and commitment to passenger comfort sets them apart. The airline operates a fleet of 93 aircraft, ensuring a blend of modernity and luxury. Every passenger, regardless of class, is treated to an array of amenities, including amenity kits and a vast selection of movies. Economy seats are designed for comfort with adjustable headrests and ample legroom, while Business and First Class passengers enjoy lie-flat beds and gourmet dining.

Etihad's esteemed reputation is founded on a modern fleet, expansive network, and unwavering dedication to passenger comfort and satisfaction.
Etihad’s esteemed reputation is founded on a modern fleet, expansive network, and unwavering dedication to passenger comfort and satisfaction.

A one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg typically costs around $689, a competitive price for the level of service offered. Etihad’s hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport connects travelers to a wide network of destinations, making it a popular choice for flights to South Africa.

Etihad’s reputation is built on its modern fleet, extensive network, and commitment to passenger comfort. It’s not just about getting you to your destination; it’s about ensuring you enjoy the journey.

6. Turkish Airlines

Known for its exceptional food, often hailed as the best in the skies, Turkish Airlines turns a simple meal into an experience.

Based in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines boasts an impressive reach, flying to more international destinations than any other airline. This extensive network includes South Africa, making it a top choice for travelers. The airline’s home base, Istanbul Airport, is a hub of activity with a lounge that’s a destination in itself, offering Turkish cuisine, private suites, and even a museum.

Turkish Airlines stands out for South Africa flights, prioritizing culinary excellence and superior passenger comfort to elevate the experience.
Turkish Airlines stands out for South Africa flights, prioritizing culinary excellence and superior passenger comfort to elevate the experience.

A one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg typically costs around $910. While not the cheapest, it’s a price that reflects the airline’s commitment to quality and service. In Economy, passengers enjoy generous legroom and a choice of tasty meals, while Business Class offers lie-flat seats, noise-canceling headphones, and even massages on certain aircraft.

Turkish Airlines stands out among airlines flying to South Africa for its focus on culinary excellence and passenger comfort. Whether you’re savoring a Turkish delight or relaxing in a lie-flat seat, Turkish Airlines makes sure your journey is as memorable as your destination.

7. Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines, from its humble beginnings in Georgia, has grown into one of the world’s largest airlines. Known for its extensive network, Delta connects passengers to over 300 destinations globally, including South Africa.

Delta’s variety of fare classes cater to different needs and budgets. Even in Basic Economy, passengers appreciate the savings and seat selection available at check-in. Main Cabin offers more flexibility with seat selection and cancellation policies. For those seeking extra comfort, Delta Comfort+ provides additional legroom and priority boarding.

Delta excels for U.S. to South Africa flights, providing a balanced mix of comfort, service, and connectivity for travelers.
Delta excels for U.S. to South Africa flights, providing a balanced mix of comfort, service, and connectivity for travelers.

A one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg typically costs around $1,629. While this might seem steep, it reflects Delta’s commitment to quality service and passenger experience. In-flight, passengers enjoy a range of entertainment options and connectivity, with Wi-Fi available on nearly all flights.

Delta is one of the best airlines from the US to South Africa for travelers seeking a balance of comfort, service, and connectivity. With major hubs in cities like Atlanta and New York, Delta is a convenient choice for many travelers.

8. EgyptAir

Egypt’s national flag carrier, EgyptAir, offers a unique blend of rich history and modern aviation. Established nearly nine decades ago, it has grown into a key player in the aviation industry.

Flying with EgyptAir is about experiencing Egyptian hospitality in the skies. The airline operates flights to over 80 destinations worldwide, including South Africa, making it a great choice for travelers looking for a blend of tradition and modernity. As a member of the renowned Star Alliance, EgyptAir provides seamless connectivity and a range of benefits to its passengers.

EgyptAir is distinguished for its unwavering commitment to passenger comfort and safety, ensuring a secure and enjoyable travel experience.
EgyptAir is distinguished for its unwavering commitment to passenger comfort and safety, ensuring a secure and enjoyable travel experience.

A one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg typically costs around $590, offering value for a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience. The airline’s modern fleet, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A320, ensures a safe and comfortable journey.

EgyptAir is known for its commitment to passenger comfort and safety. The warm hospitality of the cabin crew and the range of in-flight entertainment options make it one of the best flights to South Africa.

9. Air France

With a history dating back to 1933, Air France has grown into one of Europe’s largest airlines, offering flights to around 200 destinations worldwide, including South Africa.

A one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg with Air France typically costs around $1,686. While this price reflects the airline’s premium service, it’s a worthy investment for a comfortable journey. Air France’s largest hub is Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, a central point for connecting flights to various global destinations.

Air France excels for South Africa flights with meticulous attention to detail, prioritizing passenger comfort for an exceptional experience.
Air France excels for South Africa flights with meticulous attention to detail, prioritizing passenger comfort for an exceptional experience.

What makes Air France one of the best airlines to fly to South Africa? It’s their attention to detail in passenger comfort.The airline offers four different classes, each tailored to different needs. Economy Class provides the essentials with personal screens for in-flight entertainment, while

Premium Economy steps it up with additional baggage allowance, lounge access, and enhanced onboard comfort. Business Class offers flatbeds and superior service, and La Premiere, available on select aircraft, is the epitome of luxury with a la carte meals and personal phones for calls.

10. United Airlines

United Airlines, tracing its roots back to 1926, stands as one of the world’s largest airlines. Its extensive network reaches across five continents, including South Africa, making it a go-to choice for global travelers.

For a one-way ticket from New York to Johannesburg, expect to pay around $805. This price reflects United’s commitment to providing a balanced travel experience, combining affordability with quality service. With major hubs in cities like Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco, United offers convenient connections for a wide range of travelers.

United Airlines stands out as a top choice for flights to South Africa, offering a diverse range of fare options.
United Airlines stands out as a top choice for flights to South Africa, offering a diverse range of fare options.

United Airlines distinguishes itself as one of the best airlines to fly to South Africa through its diverse fare options. Catering to various needs, from Basic Economy for budget travelers to the luxurious Polaris Business Class, United ensures a comfortable journey for every passenger. The airline’s participation in the Star Alliance and its robust frequent flyer program add value to each trip.

United’s focus on customer satisfaction, coupled with its broad route network, positions it as a preferred airline for both business and leisure trips.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Airlines to Fly to South Africa

Got questions about the best airlines to South Africa? Our FAQ section is packed with answers to make your trip planning a breeze!

What is the best airline to fly to Africa from the USA?

When considering the best airline to fly to Africa from the USA, it’s essential to look at factors like comfort, service quality, and flight network. Airlines like Delta Air Lines and United Airlines offer extensive routes and are known for their reliable service. They provide a mix of comfort and convenience, making them top choices for travelers. Each airline has its unique strengths, so the best choice can also depend on your specific travel needs and preferences.

Which airlines fly direct from the USA to South Africa?

For direct flights from the USA to South Africa, your options include airlines like United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. United Airlines offers direct flights from Newark to Johannesburg, while Delta Air Lines operates direct flights from Atlanta to Johannesburg. These direct services are ideal for travelers looking to minimize travel time and avoid layovers. Both airlines are known for their reliability and quality service, ensuring a comfortable journey to South Africa.

Which is the best airline to fly in South Africa?

In South Africa, South African Airways is often regarded as the best airline to fly with. It’s known for its extensive domestic and international network, connecting major cities within South Africa and beyond. The airline offers a blend of comfort, reliable service, and a good safety record. For travelers exploring South Africa, it provides convenient and comfortable travel options, making it a top choice for both domestic and international routes.

Selecting the optimal airline for your South Africa trip depends on various factors and personal preferences.
Selecting the optimal airline for your South Africa trip depends on various factors and personal preferences.

Which is the most comfortable airline in South Africa?

Comfort is key when flying, and in South Africa, airlines like South African Airways and British Airways (operated by Comair) are known for their comfort. South African Airways, with its modern fleet and spacious seating, offers a comfortable flying experience. British Airways, known for its premium service standards, also provides a high level of comfort. These airlines focus on passenger comfort, offering amenities like extra legroom and quality in-flight services.

Are there budget airlines that fly to South Africa?

Yes, there are budget airlines that fly to South Africa, offering more affordable travel options. Airlines like Mango, Kulula, and FlySafair are popular choices for budget-conscious travelers. They provide domestic flights within South Africa at competitive prices. While amenities might be more basic compared to full-service airlines, these budget carriers are a great option for travelers looking to save on airfare while exploring South Africa.

What are the luxury travel options for flying to South Africa?

For luxury travel to South Africa, consider airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways, and British Airways. These airlines offer premium cabins with luxurious amenities. Emirates and Qatar Airways are known for their exceptional business and first-class experiences, including lie-flat beds and gourmet dining. British Airways also offers a high level of comfort and service in its premium cabins. These airlines provide a luxurious and comfortable journey to South Africa.

How do I choose the best airline for my trip to South Africa?

Choosing the best airline for your trip to South Africa depends on several factors. Consider the route network, flight availability, ticket prices, and the level of comfort and service offered. Look at customer reviews and ratings for insights into the airline’s service quality. Also, consider any frequent flyer programs you’re part of, as this might influence your choice. Balancing these factors will help you select the airline that best fits your travel needs and preferences.

In this extensive guide, we've examined top airlines for South Africa travel, each providing distinct amenities, service, and travel quality.
In this extensive guide, we’ve examined top airlines for South Africa travel, each providing distinct amenities, service, and travel quality.

What should I expect in terms of service when flying to South Africa?

When flying to South Africa, expect a range of services depending on the airline. Full-service airlines like South African Airways, Emirates, and British Airways offer comprehensive in-flight services, including meals, entertainment, and comfortable seating. Budget airlines might offer a more basic service, with options to purchase food and drinks on board. Regardless of the airline, you can expect a focus on safety and efforts to ensure a pleasant flight experience.

What amenities can I expect on flights to South Africa?

On flights to South Africa, amenities vary by airline but generally include in-flight entertainment, meals, and beverages. Premium airlines often offer additional comforts like extra legroom, Wi-Fi, and amenity kits. Budget carriers might have more basic offerings, with options to purchase extras. Always check with your airline for specific amenities to ensure a comfortable journey.

How early should I book my flight to South Africa for the best deals?

For the best deals on flights to South Africa, it’s advisable to book several months in advance. Generally, booking 3 to 6 months before your travel date can offer more favorable prices. Keep an eye on airline sales and sign up for fare alerts to snag good deals. Remember, last-minute bookings can sometimes be costly.

South African Airlines in 2024: A Recap

In conclusion, there are many top-rated airlines that fly to South Africa, each with its own unique strengths and offerings. From the well-known giants like Air Canada and United Airlines to the cozy charm of Porter Airlines, there is an airline out there to suit every traveler’s needs and budget.

Whether you’re looking for exceptional customer service, state-of-the-art technology, or an extensive network of routes, South Africa has it all. So, whether you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure or a quick weekend getaway, be sure to consider these top airlines for your journey to South Africa. And don’t forget to sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to get the best possible deal on airfare this year!

Happy Travels! – Jon

Read next: Scott’s Cheap Flights Review

The best airlines to fly to South Africa for all types of travelers
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