10 Questions & 10 Answers – FAQ Fridays

Welcome to another edition of Travelstart’s FAQ Fridays with me, Nick Paul.

Today is actually our 10th episode – thank you to all of you for asking your questions. We are going to answer 10 questions that we have been asked recently.

Video Transcription:

1. “Why are return flights less expensive in many cases than one way?” – Ken Ensor-Smith

The first part of your question was answered in a previous episode. To answer the second part: This is down to the fact that travel agents in SA will have negotiated fares with departures from their own country.  Often websites and agents in other countries won’t have the same deals for here.

2. “Compare the cost of living in Africa to Europe?” – Fazilit Shaboodien

We could probably make a whole video out of this, but to give you an overview:

Northern Europe tends to be much more expensive, for example the UK, Norway and Sweden.  Weirdly enough a number of African cities are very expensive to live in; Luanda in Angola is actually the most expensive city in the world to live in. Other African cities such as Libreville in Gabon and N’Djamena in Chad are in the top 20 most expensive cities. The reason for this is that there is not a lot of infrastructure, and all your basic needs are flown in, therefore pushing up the cost of living.

3. “What do you recommend for sending luggage overseas?” – M.Schollasch

 You can use the airlines excess baggage facility but this is often very expensive. There are a number of companies  that do specilise in excess baggage, we recommend U-bag.

4. “Does travelstart have an app for android phones?” –  Anele Mapipa

 The answer is currently no. There is a possibility of one being released in the future. Our site however is optimised for mobiles.

5. “Do you have a branch in Port Elizabeth” – Leonie Herd

This a common question which we get asked throughout the countries in which we operate. The answer is we only have one office in each country in which we operate. This helps us cut down operating costs, which helps us keep the cost of our tickets low. We are also able to service all of our customers via telephone or email and most of our customers make bookings online, so there is no real need for us to have multiple offices in different cities. You are welcome to contact our agents on travelbar@travelstart.com or 0861 878 278 and select option 2. You can also book directly through our website.

6. “Why is airport tax more expensive than the actual plane ticket?” – Marika Rogge

 This is a question we answered in a previous video. Click here for the answer

7. “Why are the tickets so expensive from ORT to Kenya?” – Anonymous

Again – another question which has been answered in a previous video, click here to see the answer.  As for what the cheapest airline to use is: that would depend on when you are flying and what is available at the time of booking. It could be a direct flight with SAA or Kenya Airways if they have a special on. One will often find that the cheaper flights are with Rwanda Air, which go via Kigali to Nairobi.

There are currently some good specials on the Travelstart website. I suggest you use the Travelstart site as it will compare all the airlines which fly to Nairobi.

8. “I am interested in a round-the-world ticket including Singapore, New Zealand, and the USA.” – Sanchia

We do assist in booking around the world tickets. Contact our agents on Travelbar@travelstart.com or 0861 878 278 and select option 2.  To give you a rough idea, these types of tickets can cost a +- R40 000 per person. This will greatly depend on what time of the year you plan on flying.

9. “How do you counter online agents like Hipmunk & Skyscanner where you can get significant savings by being flexible?” – Laurence Cohen

This is a really great question. To start I want to point out that Travelstart do offer flexible date options. It is a +- 3 day option which allows you to find the best deal 3 days before/after your departure and return.

If you are departing from South Africa  it is often better to book with an agent which is locally based, as they will negotiate fairs with the airlines concerned. The overseas based agents will often only have good flight prices for departures from their countries (in most cases UK or US).

Travelstart’s fares are updated very regularly, where as sites like Sky Scanner (who serve a massive range of flights) are not able to keep as up to date.

Travelstart is however on site’s like Sky Scanner – so our prices do feature there.

10. “What is the most affordable overseas trip for a South African family?” – Almene

This is a very big question and it is quite difficult to answer without knowing more about you. If you are looking at simply getting out of the country a flight from JHB to Gaborone would be your cheapest option, but probably not the greatest family holiday destination. If you are looking at beach holidays places like Zanzibar can be reasonably priced. If you are looking at going to other continents I can suggest you look into flying into:

  • South America – Sao Paulo/ Rio
  • America – New York
  • Asia – India
  • South East Asia – Bangkok
  • Europe – Malan/Rome or Athens
  • Australia – Sydney

That’s it – 10 questions for our 10th episode! Thank you very much for your comments and questions. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi everyone, would really appreciate any comments and or guidance. I have a 10 month old son who was born in Belarus. I need to apply for his passport but there is no SA embassy in Belarus, so can I make application at a home office in SA. If so what would be the process and documents needed. I am hoping someone here has had experience with this type of application and can steer me right off the bat. Thank you!

  2. Is there a way to view questions that were previously answered. I read the answers but did not save them.

    Is there a way to visit, for example, London, without a visa while traveling to USA and having to sit in airport for 10 hours on a stopover.

  3. Thank you for your answer, I will check ” exess baggage-Ubag

    I just want to report to you, that the maschine from Windhoek to Frankfurt, the aircon was so cold, that we had to put on our thick jackets,uncomfortable. Is that neccessary? ( 1.6. Windhoek Namibian Air 286)
    Best regards

  4. Recently I flew to UK. The weight allowance is 23Kg per case on an International flight wherever you travel to. When I got to Durban The Counter Assistant said I was overweight – my suitcase weighted 22Kg. After a lot of haggling my case passed through. When I returned same thing – my case weighed +/- 22kg again. This time having arrived from London without a problem. I am at the local internal check-in. I was made to unpack my case until my case weighed 20kg. The balance was put in my hand luggage!! Also checking in – in front of me – was a family from the USA who were also having the same trouble with ALL their suitcases. The girls behind the counter were rude and unhelpful – not a good welcome to this country. Its absolutely ridiculous that there isn’t consistency – thousands of people travel on from Internal flights to International flights and vice versa. If you are travelling to the States you are allowed 2 cases as well. I WILL on principle NOT pay extra – why should I? That is my allowance. I think you Travel Agents ought to make a HUGE FUSS about this. It is not doing Tourism any good.

    • Weight problems seem to be coming a norm with airlines.I had three different ocassions where there where problems.
      I had a similar problem traveling from New Zealand.The weight of my luggage was fine until I got to Johanessburg Int. The overweight charges came to a ridiculous amount and the guy spoke to the lady who weighed my luggage and I was told that I would be allowed to go through if I paid a small amount of money!! I also had to pay a large amount on a recent trip to India when my ticket showed a weight allowance of 30kg.When I got to India I was allowed only 15kg!!!! I had to pay an excess of 5000 rupees! Prior to leaving I did check with the agent I booked with and she said there was nothing she could do.I should speak to the airline when I got to India! When I got there they told me they went by whatever the agent booked.So there seems to be a ridiculous level of misinformation to the customers as there were many others who experienced the same problem.
      On my last trip I made several enquiries about weight allowance as I needed the maximum weight I could get.The allowance was 23kg I was told. So I had to leave much of my stuff behind. When I got to the check-in I was told 30kg was the weight allowance!I think there needs to be more efficient service afforded to customers considering the exorbitant amounts we pay for flight fares!

    • Hi Priscilla,

      technically, if you’ve booked a ticket with all the flights on one ticket (eg Durban – Johannesburg – London and back all on the same ticket) then the domestic airline is obliged to abide by the luggage restrictions of the international carrier. There are instances when this won’t work like this though – but it’s very complicated to explain. Essentially the international carrier strikes a deal with the local airline that the international carrier’s customers can fly on the local airline’s flights, if the international airline doesn’t fly there, for example with Virgin Atlantic to Durban. Virgin don’t fly to Durban, only Johhanesburg and Cape Town, but they have an arrangement with BA and SAA to fly their passengers on to Durban, PE and so on. Part of the deal is that BA and SAA offer the same baggage allowance between Johannesburg and Durban for Virgin customers, but the customers have to fly in a specific ticket price class (all flights have a variety of tickets on sale at a variety of price classes, each with their own restrictions – the cheaper the price class the more restrictive the rules on that ticket). The issue is that these airlines often restrict add-ons to a higher price class to recover their costs for luggage etc. This will mean that there are often cheaper tickets available on the local flights and many booking systems will prefer booking those when looking for the best rate, this obviously has an impact on the luggage allowance as the cheaper priced tickets don’t have as much allowance as the negotiated, higher fare for use on add-on flights.

      It’s a mouthful, and hard to explain, many travel agents take years to fully grasp the inner workings of ticket pricing too!

  5. Hi.im currently booking holiday in greece.(sept2014) flexible
    @ the moment there are no
    Special pakage deals from s.a.companies.for greece
    Will the flight prices increase .
    Regards bilkis.

  6. Hi, you offer 10 questions but actually less because they have been answered previously. I found them interesting but unsure if I want to check the new 10 questions as they may merely be repeats? I suggest you list previous questions elsewhere and you may have a successful hit rate on your website. Thanks.

  7. Why do you refer in question 3 to U-bag if they don’t deliver from overseas to Johannesburg? Can you give me another good option if I want people from Belgium to send a suitcase to us in Johannesburg? Thank you so much for your help. Kind regards, Marie-Paule

    • Hi Marie,

      I just got in touch with U-Bag directly. They said they do offer Belgium to JHB deliveries. Please email them on info@u-bag.com and they will be able to assist you.



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