Author Topic: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)  (Read 3070 times)

TheFirstMan

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Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« on: December 01, 2014, 08:05:26 AM »
OK, I've tuned into MMM in the last couple weeks, and now I need some help from my fellow Mustachians...

I need to get my family of two adults and two kids (not babies) from Durban or Johannesburg to Chicago (or Milwaukee or Madison) Between May 1 and May 15, 2015.

I'm from the US but living in South Africa for 10 months for my wife's job. We have return tickets on Lufthansa for February but need to push them to May. (February was the latest we were able to book when we bought the tickets.)

Now, Lufthansa (through our travel agent) is saying it's $700+ per ticket to change. ($300 change fee plus ticket price difference). Original tickets were $1364 per person (round trip).

I can get tickets on Emirates, Qatar, or Etihad for around $550, from either Johannesburg ($509, five hour rental car drive away) or Durban ($580, 1.5 hour drop off from a friend).

Obviously, the latter is cheaper. But I'm wondering if one of you might have some tricks up your sleeve that could save me a bit.

Any thoughts?

Thanks much! I look forward to the conversations here.

KCM5

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Re: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2014, 11:09:19 AM »
Sounds like you've got your options covered. I've also found cheap flights in/out of Joburg with Turkish airlines, but I'm assuming you've looked on kayak or something that would show that. Also, Mango or Kulula have inexpensive flights from Durban to Joburg if you don't want to rent a car to get there.

This is all assuming you don't have hundreds of thousands of air miles laying around, of course.

Since you're looking at a one way flight, I'd ignore the advice that says wait until three months before the flight. That's when you're supposed to get the best prices on international tickets, but one way tickets are pretty different, in my experience (at least when we're talking about flying into/out of the US).

TheFirstMan

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Re: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2014, 11:23:26 PM »
Thanks, KCM5. I've checked other comparison sites, but not Kayak. Off I go...

Overseas Stache

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Re: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 02:29:20 AM »
Your ticket prices seem good. Just something to think about, you can look for Multiple destination trips instead of 1 way trips. These are often less expensive because they are not viewed as one way. Often you can get to smaller airports closer to your home for almost the same price by using this trick.

KCM5

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Re: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 07:40:25 AM »
Your ticket prices seem good. Just something to think about, you can look for Multiple destination trips instead of 1 way trips. These are often less expensive because they are not viewed as one way. Often you can get to smaller airports closer to your home for almost the same price by using this trick.

That's a good tip! I had no idea.

NathanP

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Re: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2014, 07:51:13 AM »
This is a perfect case to use Google's airfare matrix search matrix.itasoftware.com . With this tool you can insert any number of to/from airport combinations and specify a 1 month search range. I use it frequently to find the best airfare price and options and then head over to the airline to book.

With your dates, it looks like the lowest cost tickets are around $540 USD. Note that the search from South Africa displays the cost in Rand. I attached an image showing the search criteria that I used.

Stachesquatch

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Re: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 01:06:58 PM »
I recently travelled from Cape Town, South Africa to Deadhorse, Alaska. I had connections in Frankfurt and Amsterdam.  In both transfers they made me clear immigrations, it took 1 1/2 hours in each airport just getting from arrival gates to transfer gates. 

My take away here is to be cautious with any connecting flights in Europe that are shorter than 2 hours, there was an especially long queue in Amsterdam.

I do at least have extra stamps in my passport that will make my niece happy to see, even after I explain that I didn't actually leave the airport in those countries.


TheFirstMan

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Re: Airfare advice? (South Africa to Chicago, one way)
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 04:30:14 AM »
Thanks for the replies. Turns out Lufthansa will do the change for $1200, so cheaper than booking a fresh itinerary.

I'm keen on that 1 month search window, though. Thanks!