This is what a R120,000 first-class flight looks like in South Africa

 ·9 Jan 2024

Four airlines with operations in South Africa – Swiss Air, British Airways, Emirates and Lufthansa, offer first-class seats to the extremely wealthy.

The most expensive of these are Swiss Air’s flight from Johannesburg to Zurich and British Airway’s flight from Cape Town to London – both costing over R120,000.

Emirate’s first-class tickets from Durban, Cape Town or Johannesburg to Dubai will also set a customer back over R110,000, whilst a seat with Lufthansa to Frankfurt will cost just under R95,000.

Although several other international flights are available to South Africans, not every airline has a first-class cabin, with many instead having business class.

Business class is a step up from the economy but doesn’t offer the same amenities as a first-class ticket.

According to elitetraveller, a first-class seat is more of a private suite with doors that can close, while business-class seats only offer more legroom than an economy seat.

First class also comes with high-end dishes, such as lobster and fillet steak, while giving access to superior airport lounges.

High levels of service are also expected for first-class passengers, with large amounts of attention given at arrival whilst being the first to be checked in and the first to get their bags when the destination is reached.

This superior level of service does come with a major increase in price. An economy ticket from Johannesburg to Zurich costs R16,289 – over R100,000 less than first class.

These are the four first-class flights that South Africans can fly now:

Swiss Air

  • Destination: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Departure: Johannesburg
  • Duration: 10h35
  • Price: R120,375

British Airways

  • Destination: London, England
  • Departure: Johannesburg, Cape Town
  • Duration: 11h30 – 12h
  • Price: R78,574 (Johannesburg) – R122,304 (Cape Town)


  • Destination: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Departure: Johannesburg/Cape Town/ Durban
  • Duration: 8h20 – 9h30
  • Price: R112,517 (Johannesburg and Durban) – R112,527 (Cape Town)


  • Destination: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Departure: Johannesburg
  • Duration: 10h40
  • Price: R94,751

All prices are sourced from Google Flights. Prices are based on a 1-week return flight in March 2024. Different dates of travel will give different prices.

Read: Ranking the top 22 universities in South Africa in 2024

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter