Business Insider Edition

You can now fly SAA to New York for less than R10,000 – but some competitors are cheaper

James de Villiers , Business Insider SA
 Mar 04, 2020, 03:03 PM
(Facebook, SAA)
(Facebook, SAA)
  • SAA is selling tickets at a 20% discount, which means seats between Johannesburg and New York are available for less than R10,000. 
  • Several competitors, however, offer cheaper flights – though none of them fly direct. 
  • The 20% discount campaign is part of SAA’s bid to lure back customers lost in the turmoil of its business-rescue proceedings. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

You can now book flights on South African Airways (SAA), between OR Tambo International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, for less than R10,000. 

But you can still fly cheaper on other airlines.

SAA this week extended a up to 20% discounts campaign in a bid to lure back consumers it lost in the turmoil of its business-rescue proceedings. 

SAA, which cancelled most of its domestic flights except between Johannesburg and Cape Town at the end of February, said the discount on its economy, premium economy, and business class seats will last until Thursday.

Also read: As Mango expands its routes, its CEO believes SAA's downsizing was inevitable

All SAA flights are again covered by travel insurance, after major insurers withdrew such coverage briefly in December, over fears that the airline might be liquidated.

That means promotional deals come with a money-back guarantee if SAA can not honour the ticket.

In a comparison exercise for flights in April, Business Insider South Africa found real-world prices on SAA of:

  • R9,629 for Johannesburg to New York 
  • R8,342 between Johannesburg and London, and 
  • R9,148 between Johannesburg and Frankfurt.

Those prices are roughly in line with SAA’s promise of flights for less than R9,000 – but remain more expensive than Emirates, Etihad Airways, Egypt Air, Kenya Air, Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Air.

None of those competing airlines offer direct flights, however.

Emirates offered indirect flights between Johannesburg and New York for R8,716, between Johannesburg and London for R5,428, and between Johannesburg and Frankfurt for R6,404. 

Egypt Air had indirect flights between Johannesburg and New York for R8,998, between Johannesburg and London for R5,725, and between Johannesburg and Frankfurt for R5,293. 

Etihad Airways had indirect flights between Johannesburg and New York for R7,214, between Johannesburg and London for R5,807, and between Johannesburg and Frankfurt for R5,075. 

Also read: New rewards and more international partners: how Mango’s CEO plans to overtake FlySafair

Within South Africa, SAA fared better when comparing its promotional prices with competitor offers.

Domestically, SAA flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town in April were available for R935.11, compared to R1,099 on FlySafair (with luggage), R777.61 on Kulula, and R1,254.11 on British Airways. 

Passengers on SAA and British Airways receive additional on-board benefits such as meals and additional legroom, while those on Kulala and FlySafair do not. 

SAA said it extended the promotion from last week after it recorded high levels of sales across its markets. 

“We are pleased that our customers and travel trade partners are showing renewed trust in our brand. We aim to build further on this trust by offering our customers more exciting offers over the months ahead,” SAA Chief Commercial Officer’s Philip Saunders said.

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