The cheapest international flight that you can take in South Africa

 ·7 Jun 2024

Air travel between continents is exceptionally costly for South Africans, with non-peak time flights growing to R35,000 for a return flight.

Flying has generally been reserved for the wealthy, and an estimated 80% of the world’s population has never flown.

Travelling internationally has also been expensive for South Africans, but following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, the price of flights skyrocketed even further alongside the price of oil.

Thousands are needed to fly across country borders, with distance playing a significant role.

According to Google Flights data, the cheapest international flight from OR Tambo International Airport is to Manzini in Eswatini, with flights costing less than R3,000.

This is unsurprising, as driving between the airports would take around five hours.

Looking beyond Africa, the cheapest flight from OR Tambo is to Doha, Qatar, with a Sunday return flight costing R13,748.

Following this is SAA’s flight to Brazil (R17,400) and Cathay Pacific’s flight to Hong Kong (R18,200)

Notably, despite having the largest South African diasporas, flights to Europe, Australia and North America are the most expensive.

The cheapest European flight is to Amsterdam via KLM (R19,000), while flights to Atlanta, USA cost a few thousand more (R22,698.)

According to Google Flights, direct flights to Australia were the most expensive for the September period that we chose, with flights costing around R34,500.

The flight comparison can be found below:

AfricaManzini, EswatiniAirlinkR2 776
EuropeAmsterdam, NetherlandsKLMR19 022
Australasia Syndey, AustraliaQantasR34 448
Middle EastDoha, QatarQatar AirwaysR13 748
AsiaHong KongCathay PacificR18 257
South AmericaSao Paulo, BrazilSAAR17 397
North AmericaAtlanta, USADeltaR22 698

Prices were sourced from Google Flights. Departing flights were for Sunday, September 1, while return flights were for Sunday, 15 April – except for SAA’s flights to Brazil, which we’re one day later. Air travel prices are prone to change, and not all airlines offer the same packages.

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