Contributors to this thread:
Flights to Africa
Better to book yourself online or use a travel agent? Cost wise?
Go direct to airline personally
I have always booked myself. Probably because for 20+ yrs I flew almost every week for work and became very adept at making my own arrangements. If you don't feel comfortable searching online and spending some time to dissect each option than maybe using an agent is the better choice. I just hate paying someone to do something for me that I can easily do myself. You would be surprised how much those fares will change with simply moving your flight date from Friday to Tues for example. It takes a little effort and time to run each scenario and figure what an extra day(s)/night(s) might cost but sometimes it is worth the savings in airfare. The closer you wait until departure the less options for lower fares will be available, especially where seating and travel days are concerned.
TXRandy, I agree with Bou'bound that to avoid commissions, the least expensive way to book airfares to Africa is directly with the airline. It is fairly easy as long as you are aware of how to plan your itinerary accounting for layovers, connections, etc,... That said, if you are not comfortable with booking your own itineraries, or if it is more convenient to have another party shop fares, and make these arrangements for you, a travel agent specializing in African travel is not a bad idea. There are definite advantages to having a travel agent, especially for international trips. And, paying the commission they get is worth the peace of mind and convenience for some folks. I can recommend a couple of different travel specialists that have done a great job for our clients in the past, and I'm sure that others here can make other recommendations as well. PM if you want more info.
I have used an agent for all my Africa trips paid a bit more , but everyone I have been in airport taking with hunters that tried to save a few hundred dollars on a 5000 hunt and spent a day or two in airport because they over looked a few things,
I book direct but am very experienced. Ultimately, it comes down to how comfortable you are making your own arrangements.
Thanks for the help guys!
I use a knowledgeable travel agent for all international travel. They seem to possess inside information that has saved me ticket costs and my time (which is also money).
I book all domestic flights myself on line.
Booked myself. I’d look for a direct flight. The 6 hour layover made the trip drag on.
? one person going with me is taking a gun, I know nothing about taking a rifle and ammo any info would be great?
Your hunt provider should provide you with all details regarding the traveling with firearms. I can also send you all pertinent info if you like.
Basically you need a letter of invitation from the outfitter, US Customs form 4457, SAPS form 520, copies of your passport and itinerary. Three copies of each of the above which I suggest you keep in a separate folder. Alternatively, contact Henri at riflepermits.com and he will secure the import permit ahead of time and meet you at arrivals in Johannesburg.
Use Riflepermits.com for firearm import. Best service in my opinion and totally worth the money
Thanks ken , never taking a gun with me I was lost
Good luck. It’s not that big a deal but using riflepermits.com will alleviate some of the hassle. You’ll still have to go to the police station in the airport but all the preliminary paperwork will be done.
I booked mine online, from Boston to SA. Only one stop with only a two hour layover at Heathrow. Just over $1K. Piece of cake. I rented weapon from outfitter so I didn't have to go through all the bs. Worked out great.
FYI...do not fly thru Heathrow with a firearm. It will be confiscated and you’ll end up paying big $$$.
Anytime flying through Europe avoid bringing a firearm. Best flights in my opinion are the direct shots from JFK or Atlanta. No layover or stops. Just 15 hours of fun ;-)
I agree! For me that direct flight on Delta from Atlanta to Johannesburg is great. I wouldn't do it any other way if I was only hunting in South Africa. Travel agent set it all up. I could do it myself now if I wanted.
Delta 200- ATL > Joburg Departs around 8 PM and arrives around 5:30 PM; Delta 201- Joburg> ATL Departs around 8 PM and arrives around 6:00 AM
All times are local area
I would reread that last post. The departure time looks odd
Buffalo1 is correct... ATL to JNB: Departs 8:18pm and arrives in JNB at 5:35pm the following day.
JNB to ATL: Departs 7:55pm and arrives in ATL at 6:29am the following morning.
what are you guys paying this year they seem high compared to last few years
The delta flight seems a touch over 2 grand the last couple weeks. I've been watching because I'm heading over in July.
same with us Mountainman July 7th good luck
Zebra, I'm looking to fly out June 29ish, return a couple weeks later. Where you headed?
South Africa with Marvel Africa hunted with them last July was a great hunt
Delta is definitely higher on average.... Probably because they have to make up for the loss of their policy of no longer shipping animal parts from Africa.
I always book direct. I do not have any need for someone in the middle. I travel extensively and am very comfortable with international travel.
I prefer to have control of my situation, seating, etc.
It really comes down to your personal level of comfort. Orbitz, Delta, or Fly SAA web sites are all easy to use.
I was looking online for the best prices for a may trip to SA, Best I could find for my dats was 1500, I asked my travel agent and she found me Round trip seats at $805 per seat! I added a second trip to Victoria falls and total airfare still came in under 1200. So I would check with a travel agent for sure!
Do these travel agents have the ability to get a specific flight(the exact same flight) for cheaper than you can get it from the airline? Or do they find different ways to piece together flights that make it cheaper?
Flight I'm looking at is 2200. I found some for a good bit less then that, but they have layovers that I'd prefer not to have. My flight is the direct flight from ATL to JNB. Will travel agents be able to get this exact flight for cheaper than the airline price?
Mountainman Im in same boat as you right now looked high and low and 2100 to 2500 looks like what im paying
Three things on this thread are “money”.
1. Use Riflepermits.com 2. Take the Delta Flight 3. Do what Ken Moody says. :)
If anyone is interested the travel agent I use is firstname.lastname@example.org www.travelhound.us Tell her I sent ya!
Also, be careful with Delta, I just got off the phone with them and there policy on archery equipment states must be 63" or smaller that is length+width+thickness. Most hard bowcases already exceed this and you will be charged an additional $100 each way for the oversized bag. Anybody have any first hand experience? I fly with a SKB double and have traveled all over with it and no issues but this looks like they are trying to get more money from ya
I believe that has always been Delta's policy, but I've travelled all over North America, and to Africa three times and I've never paid extra for a bow or gun case. One thing I've learned about airlines: The past/rules mean nothing. It's whatever that person behind the counter feels like doing on a given day is what usually prevails.
Cory is correct. If you use a sky cap then they’ll never measure your case. Inside the terminal it depends on who’s looking. I can tell you stories you cannot believe.
There was the time I arrived at JFK from Africa with my rifle in a case and when I tried to check it onto the domestic flight the kid at the counter had a nervous breakdown because i had a “gun” and called the airport police who trotted over with hand on holster and told me to step away from the case....and then approached the case like it was rigged to explode and used a pen to open up the top of the case just about a 1/2 inch to peer inside with a flashlight before realizing that a platoon of miniature soldiers were not inside ready to leap out....and then proceeded to TSA and fight with them over their inability to do their job...and then when it finally got to the conveyor to have the attendant call two more police officers who came over and proceeded to berate me and treat me like a terrorist forcing me to reopen the case so that they could see the evil gun for themselves...yea, that time. Nearly two hours to get my gun case checked onto the very domestic airline that brought to JFK in the first place.
On all three of my flights to Africa Delta allowed archery equipment to be over-sized, as long as the weight was under 50 pounds. That has apparently changed in just the last few years.
Heavy duty bow cases all tend to be over most airlines size policy. Mine is, and I have never been measured or had to pay extra(bag is always under weight). But I am always very nice and polite.
But if I ever get "that person" behind the counter, I'll just have to suck it up and pay it.
Smile when you walk to the counter, be extremely friendly, tell them it’s archery equipment (vs bowhunting) and you’ll rarely have a problem.
I sure wish the Delta flight had economy plus! I did Business Class with 280,000 miles in 2009 but last I checked that’s now over 700,000 miles.
Scott, In Nevada...you big tall goober, is THIS you?
I've never been required to pay an oversize bag charge for my archery equipment on Delta...and that was in a hockey rolling duffel bag...twice in the few years.
I just booked First Class using frequent flyer miles for 290,000 miles from Boston to Jo"burg. However, I used Delta miles, the flights are mostly on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. I have a 10 hour layover in London on the way there and a 3 hour lay over on the return. The Virgin lounge in Heathrow is one of the best in the world. I also rent a fast sleep room at the No 1 lounge for several hours and get some good sleep.
I have done this twice now. It is worth it to me for the layover to save 500,000 miles. Last time I was able to sweet talk someone at Delta and they put me on the flight to Atlanta on the return without an increase in the number of miles.
After the events here in Georgia this past week, I would advise against flying Delta or United. A few years ago, Delta kicked hunters in the groin by discontinuing shipping legally obtained trophies from Africa. Now they have said NRA members are second class citizens by discontinuing discounts. I am now treating Delta as a second class airline by not giving them any more of my money. There are plenty of other airlines out there that fly to the same places as Delta and United. They need to learn there are consequences for their actions. They are cowards cowtowing to a minority of snowflakes.
Hmmm, plenty of other airlines....exactly two that fly non-stop to South Africa from the USA.
Delta and South African Airways (United code share partner)
Unfortunately, air travel is almost a monopoly unless you want to deal with a lot of inconvenience.
I don’t agree with the intent of your post.
Is anyone here concerned about the recent vote in the SA legislature to confiscate all white owned farm land without compensation? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5443599/White-South-African-farmers-removed-land.html#ixzz58VXEVgp7 What could possibly go wrong? It seemed to work out well in Zimbabwe...
Fenceman, I meant to say that I agree with your post. I saw you live in Georgia. It is difficult to travel from Atlanta without using Delta.
Keadog, there's another thread on that topic.
I noticed that after i posted. Not here much; sorry. Down to hunting only whitetails at home. Wherever it's discussed, it would certainly deter me from going.
While I agree with your comments regarding Delta, Delta offers the best nonstop service from ATL > JNB and JNB > ATL. Where I live, Delta is the "one" for air flight service to anywhere I wish to travel in the world. It not so easy to boycott, if I desire air travel. I honestly don't think the "NRA Thing" will greatly effect their bottom line. They are smart enough to have figured that out before they made their announcement.
I honestly didn't know they offered discount to NRA members, and I dare say a lot of other people were aware of all the NRA discounts that were available to NRA members. It hasn't been a topic of discussion around campfire conversations I have shared. But then, what do I know?