Repatriation Flights: The Ins and Outs

Repatriation flights are on the rise with many citizens anxiously waiting to return home from their travel destinations. Our very own Country Manager of Travelstart Nigeria, Philip Akesson, a Swedish National, assisted the Swedish Embassy and representatives from consulates of the Nordic countries in getting 175 stranded Nordic citizens home. 

We chatted to Philip about his personal experience with repatriation flights. Here’s what he had to say:

repatriation flights

Travelstart: What was your experience like? 

Philip: I was asked to assist at the airport to ensure that each passenger had the necessary documentation and to check them in for their flight. Since the usual airport staff were not on duty, it was up to the countries’ consulates and airline crew to carry out these tasks. 

This repatriation flight was a very successful collaboration between the Nordic countries. They all worked together to secure a chartered plane for their citizens and residents. Personally, it was a nice experience to be part of the collaboration and a great example of how countries can come together and solve challenges in difficult times!

Travelstart: Who is responsible for organising repatriation flights?

Philip: Repatriation flights are most often initiated by the home countries. To gauge the demand, embassies in the respective countries ask their citizens, as well as residents, to complete an online form if they’re interested in travelling back home. Government and embassy officials at home and abroad then work closely with the airlines and local authorities to gain the necessary approvals for a repatriation flight.

Travelstart: How does the process unfold?

Philip: The process can differ depending on the countries involved and the reason for why there is a demand for a repatriation flight in the first place. It’s also important to mention that repatriation flights are different from evacuation flights. For many repatriation flights during COVID-19, this is how the process has unfolded:

  1. The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.
  2. Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
  3. Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized. 
  4. The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
  5. The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers. 

Travelstart: Is there a lot of paperwork to fill out?

Philip: Additional paperwork is often required. In the case of our current COVID-19 situation, the embassies typically help out with documents stating that you are scheduled on a repatriation flight. This makes it easier to clear police checkpoints and get to the airport. If possible, the embassies can assist in getting passengers to the airport.

At the check-in counter, you might need to show evidence of citizenship, residence permit, hotel reservations or proof of onward journey to your end destination. The documents needed depend on the immigration requirements of the arrival country. For example, if you book a flight to London but your end destination is Germany, it’s important to confirm what immigration rules apply in the UK during COVID-19 to ensure that you will be allowed to board your flight to London.

repatriation flights

Travelstart: How soon can you be repatriated after submitting an application?

Philip: There are many factors at play. The demand for a repatriation flight partly determines what options are commercially viable for the airlines and, also, how actively each country’s government initiates the repatriation. Additionally, these flights require permissions from the country of departure. All of this can take some time.

Travelstart: How much does a repatriation flight cost?

Philip: The price of the ticket varies greatly but I’ve heard that a common benchmark is around the normal price of Premium Economy. It’s important to note that the price the airline sets needs to be commercially viable which depends on a range of factors. These planes often fly without paying passengers one leg of the trip and during COVID-19 middle seats are often left empty. In addition, the cost of the crew may be higher than normal due to the increased risk.

Travelstart: Does travel insurance cover repatriation?

Philip: There is no standard answer as this depends completely on the insurance policy you have taken out. Given the global scale of this situation, many insurance companies may try to reduce their risk exposure. 

Travelstart: Which type of aircraft or airlines offer repatriation services?

Philip: It’s important to remember that repatriation flights are paid for by the passengers and they need to be commercially viable for the airlines. The number of passengers, distance travelled, and other factors mentioned above determine which airlines can offer their services and which of their aircraft would be most suitable. Carriers ranging from the global giants to lesser-known charter airlines have carried out repatriation flights from and to South Africa.

repatriation flights

Important information for passengers being repatriated home:

Before boarding a flight, all passengers are subjected to pre-flight screening and if they present COVID-19 symptoms, they will not be allowed to board. 

Upon landing back in South Africa, passengers are subjected to onboard screening before they can disembark the plane, and are escorted to a quarantine facility where they will remain for 14 days.  

Numerous airlines have been involved in repatriating fellow South Africans back home from countries like Australia, the USA, UK, Brazil, Egypt, Italy, Germany and the Maldives, to name a few. To date, over 600 South Africans have successfully been repatriated, with over 3,000 in different parts of the world still waiting to get home. 

And there you have repatriation flights explained. Do you have any other questions regarding travel during COVID-19 or how to stay safe? Head on over to our Travel Safe page for all the latest updates. 

 

Looking for travel inspiration and things do while you’re sitting at home? We’ve got lockdown covered with tips and tricks to keep you busy.

Also read: How lockdown affects your travel plans

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

Our Readers Comments

  1. I am South African in UK on working visa. Unfortunately they will not renew my visa due to COVID19 and I have to go back to South Africa. So I’m trying to find out how i get back home within 2-3 months? is there is repatriation flight from UK to SA in August? or will there is normal flight resume hopefully?

    • Hi Luke,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If our borders are not open within 2 – 3 months you would need to contact your nearest South African Embassy for a repatriation flight. Please click on the link below to find your nearest SA Embassy.

      http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.

      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.

      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

      Please keep checking the airlines website for the most up to date information when they will resume operation as well as the news.

  2. Good afternon
    I am a student currently in Spain. I have been doing an internship in Spain and my contract ends on the 26th of June 2020. I had a return flight booked with Qatar but they cancelled my flight and now i don’t know what to do.
    Can you please help me get a flight back home to South African for the first week of July.

    Regards
    Elizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and unable to locate a booking.

      If you have booked with Qatar direct you would need to contact them as we will not have access to your booking. If they have not resumed operation by the time you are supposed to fly would would need to suspended for flight booking (place your booking on hold) and re-book at a later stage when they take the the skys again.

      The airlines have wavered their penalty fees, should there be any difference in fares and taxes the airline will have to charge for this.

  3. Hello

    We are South Africans currently in SA but live and work in the UK. We only have to be back in the UK on the 1st July to start working so would like to fly back min June if possible. Can you assist with how we register for repatriation flights and whether SAA would operate these flights for the whole month or only a short period of time.

    Thank you in advance

    Franco

    • Hi Franco,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Please see the following link: https://bit.ly/36zDRAw and register online. SAA will respond advising if they are still offering flights from South Africa to the UK. Or you can reach out to KLM: https://klmf.ly/2XBBWY3 to see if they could assist.

  4. My Son is currently in South Africa he works in Egypt and need to get back how can I advise him to get a
    flight back

    • Hi Marinda,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      The Department of Home Affairs said it would allow South Africans to leave the country for Essential Travel: work, study, to take up permanent residency or to receive medical attention.

      “South Africa, like many countries in the world, has implemented travel restrictions as part of the measures put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19. Travel between countries is allowed in special circumstances.”

      Those who wish to return to countries they reside in will need a valid copy of their South African passport.

      They would also need a letter confirming their admissibility under the circumstances from the embassy or other diplomatic representatives of the country they want to travel to.

      “If returning by road or connecting via flights, the proof submitted needs to include permission from each transiting country,” the department said.

      This means proof of travel such as an air or bus ticket and the intended date of departure.

      “South Africans who fall in these categories and satisfy the criteria can send an email to Covid19travel@dha.gov.za.

      “An email will be sent to travellers who meet the criteria to enable them to proceed with their travel arrangements,” it added.

      For people traveling in groups, only one email with supporting documents of each member is needed.

      Members of the public can call 0800 60 11 90 for inquiries.

      You will need to contact the airline direct for flight bookings and they will assist and advise what documents they will require.

  5. Hi – Since the government announced international essential travel is allowed, how does one actually go about obtaining a flight? I work in the US and need to go back.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      The Department of Home Affairs said it would allow South Africans to leave the country for work, study, to take up permanent residency or to receive medical attention.

      “South Africa, like many countries in the world, has implemented travel restrictions as part of the measures put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19. Travel between countries is allowed in special circumstances.”

      Those who wish to return to countries they reside in will need a valid copy of their South African passport.

      They would also need a letter confirming their admissibility under the circumstances from the embassy or other diplomatic representatives of the country they want to travel to.

      “If returning by road or connecting via flights, the proof submitted needs to include permission from each transiting country,” the department said.

      This means proof of travel such as an air or bus ticket and the intended date of departure.

      “South Africans who fall in these categories and satisfy the criteria can send an email to Covid19travel@dha.gov.za.

      “An email will be sent to travellers who meet the criteria to enable them to proceed with their travel arrangements,” it added.

      For people traveling in groups, only one email with supporting documents of each member is needed.

      Members of the public can call 0800 60 11 90 for inquiries.

      You will need to contact the airline direct for flight bookings and they will assist and advise what documents they will require.

  6. Good Day

    My son is currently in China, they have been advise that they will continue with online classes for the rest of the Semester. Please advise if there is a repatriation flight scheduled from China and if you can provide details of who we can contact at the Chinese embassy or any other flights available from China to SA.

    • HI Simone,

      Thanks for reaching out. For repatriation flights your son would need to contact the nearest South African Embassy. Please click on the link provided below and on the letter for the Country is is currently in. It will come up with a list of South African Embassy’s in China.

      http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.

      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.

      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

  7. Hello. Are pets allowed on these repatriation flights please? I’m trying to get my 2 dogs and cats to Frankfurt (or anywhere else in the EU). Please let me know.

    • Hi Marion,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      From the information I have read No pets will be allowed on-board the flight.

      For the most up to date information we ask that you contact your nearest Embassy. Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country contacts airlines to see who can help facilitate a repatriation flight. That airline will have to provide the Embassy with feedback advising if they will allow pets onboard that repatriation flight or not.

    • Google for companies who do specialised pet travels. There are some in South Africa and also in Germany. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post their names here. We are trying to get our cat down to South Africa as soon we can get out of Germany. They told us that they can use cargo flights for pets. Just make sure that you have the required paperwork, vaccinations and blood tests done for the entry into Germany.

  8. Hi my mother, 73 years of age, is currently stuck in New Zealand. She was supposed to fly back 7th of April but because of the lockdown was unable to because her flight was cancelled. How can we go about to get her back to South Africa. She would really like to get back home safely.

    • Hi Estelle,

      Thanks for reaching out. For repatriation fights your mom would need to contact her nearest South African Embassy in New Zealand.

      Contact details for the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission can be found at the following link :
      http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm

      South African High Commission
      Level 7
      AON Centre
      1 Willis Street
      Wellington
      6011

      Postal Add:
      P O Box 25406
      Featherston Street
      Wellington
      6146
      New Zealand

      Tel: + 64 4 815 8484
      Fax: + 64 4 472 5010

      E-mail:
      wellington.dha@dirco.gov.za (Immigration and Civic Affairs)

      Website:
      http://www.dirco.gov.za/Wellington/

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.

      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.

      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

  9. Good afternoon,

    I am presently in Cambodia and would lie to fly at the end of June back home when I have finished my contract at an International school. I had a ticket for Qatar Airways that was issued through Travelstart for the end of July, but obviously it had been canceled. A few questions:
    How do I go about to get this ticket to be signed over to Qatar Airways to change to another flight? They cannot do anything without Travelstart signing over and they are organizing the repatriation flights.
    Are you aware if there are repatriation flights in June or will it just be commercial flights? Not clear about this from QA.

    Thanks for your support. I really need advice urgently as time is running out.

    • HI Elizabeth,

      Thanks for reaching out. For repatriation flights you would need to contact your nearest Embassy direct.

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.

      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.

      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

      If it is Qatar repatriation flight you might be able to use your Qatar tickets towards partial payment, however we are not able to advise on this, only Qatar can provide this information.

      For a normal date change – when Qatar resume operation for the route you wish to travel you would need to reach out to our fares team at: bookings@travelstart.com

      I’ve done a search using your name and surname and located your Travelstart booking. I see our team have already been in touch with you with your options for your flight ticket. An e-mail was sent from: schedulechanges@travelstart.com to the e-mail address used to make the booking.

      Your flights have been suspended. Should you have any other questions please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com or schedulechanges@travelstart.com
      We have a team managing that inbox who will respond. Or you can reach out to our agents via our Online Chat service we offer. This can be found on our website: http://www.travelstart.co.za on our homepage. (Bottom left of the screen you will see our chat emoji) Or you welcome to pop us a private message on our Facebook page and we will escalate your query to our fares team.

  10. Travel Start….you’re doing a great job with this platform. And I do hope that everyone will be reunited with their loves ones…

    In the meantime, I’d appeal for patience as the necessary officials do their best to help…its very difficult for all concerned.

    Cheers
    Sebe @ Eswatini

    PS…I’m patiently waiting travel ban lift so I can join my husband (newly wed) in Germany.

  11. I am a British citizen with a permanent South African visa stuck in Cape Town would like to return to the uk but British airways have cancelled my flight on June the 24 Th is there any other way of being repatriated

    • Hi Michele,

      Thanks for reaching out. You would need to contact the nearest British Embassy in South Africa for repatriation flights.

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.

      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.

      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

  12. Hi my dad is very ill and his brother is in London trying to get a flight to Cape town. What would be the best option for him to obtain a flight? We can get letters from the hospital to support his case if needed.

    • Hi Rose,

      Thanks for reaching out and sorry to hear about your dad. During this time South Africa’s boarders are closed and they are only allowing repatriation flights in and out of the country to get citizens back to their home country.

      If you uncle is needing to visit he would only be able to travel when South Africa opens its boarders and flights resume operation.

      Yours is safe travel.

  13. I have a valid residency for Kurdistan Iraq and reports indicate that they will be opening up their borders from the 22nd of May.

    My question is, is it possible to book a ticket on a Qatar airways repatrion flight that is returning to Doha from Johannesburg?

    I will have a onward ticket to fly from Doha to Erbil with Qatar airways as well.

    • Hi Louis,

      Thanks for reaching out. You will need to contact your nearest Embassy.

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.

      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.
      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

  14. Good day!

    I booked a ticket to the UK on Emirates Airlines through Travelstart and been in the UK since February, was due to fly back to Cape Town 29 April, when the news of the corona virus broke out I tried and get an early flight back home with no response and no help! after many emails I was told my flight with Emirates had been cancelled…

    Getting hold of Travelsart to find out about the earliest dates to get back home and then been told that I could only get a booking to Cape town the 1st June…

    Getting onto the Emirates site and the first available flights is the 1st July, when I emailed Travelsart to book me a flight back home, they tell me that the border is still closed but I see that is only for domestic and national flights and not international flights coming in! Planes are flying in and out every day.

    It seems like I will be stranded in the UK till next year because nobody is interested in getting you back home!

    Kind regards
    Kenneth

    • Hi Kenneth,

      Thank you for reaching out and taking the time to share your feedback with us. We regret to hear you have not had a great experience when trying to reach us.

      Due to Covid-19 our operations team received an influx of booking queries and they had to prioritise bookings by date of departure as there were and are many passengers affected. We do apologise for the delay in getting back to you.

      I’ve done a search using your e-mail address and found your Emirates flight booking for departing 29 April. Looking at the history of your booking our operations team e-mailed you on the 27th March letting you know your flights have been suspended as the airline was not operating.

      We can see you requested for us to quote on a date change. However due to the current situation we are unable to say when the airline will resume operation as lockdown could be extended again. Currently it is uncertain as to when the status of the lock down will improve.

      If our agents quote you on the next available fight and you accept the quote and pay for the changes, should lockdown be extended again and our boarders stay closed our agents would then need to re-quote on the new dates of travel. Emirates give one free change where they waiver their penalty fee however should their be a difference in fare and taxes, Emirates is charging this. Each time a change is made, should there be a difference in airfare and airport taxes our amendments team need to quote the passenger for this. We are governed by the airlines policy and I’m afraid we are not permitted to waiver those fees.

      Our amendments team sent you the following e-mail this morning:

      “”Please be advised that as per the President’s announcement made on 23 April 2020, the following will be take into consideration when assisting you with your booking:

      Level 4: Travel is prohibited travel. No inter-provincial travel permitted.
      Level 3: Domestic travel permitted with authorisation
      Level 2: Domestic travel permitted with no authorisation required
      Level 1: Restrictions on International travel

      Currently it is uncertain as to when the status of the lock down will improve.

      We advise that you contact us for assistance with the rebooking of your itinerary once there is a clearer directive available from the Government.

      If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us on: bookings@travelstart.com or via our chat service or contact forms on the website.

      We do apologise for any frustration caused and the struggle in trying to reach us.

  15. Hi

    My sister is in Germany and we want to know when is the next repatriation flight to South Africa. She is 29 weeks pregnant and needs to get back to SA asap.

    • Hi Salma,

      Thanks for reaching out. For repatriation flights this will need to be done directly through the South African Embassy where they are able to provide you with the relevant information if there is a flight and if so the correct procedures to follow and what documents are needed and the cost.

      Contact details for the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission can be found at the following link :
      http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm

  16. Good day

    My girlfriend is currently stuck in Doha.
    We have tried calling the South African embassy in Doha as well as sent emails to them without reply.

    Is there any way to contact someone in Doha to help her get home?

    I have also tried email and phone calls to Dirco without any success.

    • Hi Henho,

      Regret to hear you are not receiving a response to your e-mails. I’m afraid we do not have any further contact details. Maybe you can try reach out to Qatar direct to see if they are still offering repatriation flights. If they are, this needs to be booked directly with the airline.

      The only contact details we have for the South African Embassy in Qatar is the below.

      Qatar (State of)
      South African Embassy
      Saha 100
      West Bay Lagoon
      Doha

      Postal Add:
      P O Box 24744
      Doha
      State of Qatar

      Tel: + 974 4485 7111
      Fax: + 974 4483 5961

      E-mail:
      doha.admin@dirco.gov.za (Admin)
      doha.consular@dirco.gov.za(Consular)
      doha.dha@dirco.gov.za (Immigration and Civic Affairs)
      doha.trade@dirco.gov.za (Economic & Information)

      Website:
      http://www.dirco.gov.za/doha/

  17. Hi there. I’m trying to get information on repatriation from the UK back to SA. The information provided by Dirco has no response – phones aren’t answered and emails aren’t replied to. I’ve tried multiple times. The SA embassy in the UK is also not reliable. Do you have any other suggestions?

    • Hi Robyn,

      Sorry to hear this you are receiving no response. I’m afraid the only information we have is for customer to e-mail

      contact the department of international relations and corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details: email addresses
      They have a 24 hour command center in south africa and 2 e-mail address’s
      +27 12 351 1754 +24 12 351 1756

      cicc1@dirco.gov.za
      cicc2@dirco.gov.za

      Or to contact their nearest Embassy:

      If you are a South African stranded abroad, please send an email to the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission with the below mentioned information in order to be registered on their database. Please note that Head Office is not registering South Africans on a database. That is the responsibility of the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission.

      Contact details for the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission can be found at the following link :
      http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm

      PLEASE NOTE THAT BY SENDING E-MAILS TO THE CICC1 ALONE, WILL DELAY THE PROCESS. PLEASE SEND THE INFORMATION TO THE RELEVANT EMBASSY / CONSULAR / HIGH COMMISSION DIRECTLY.

      Please include as much information as possible to the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission:

      • Country where you currently are:
      • Full names and surname:
      • Passport nr:
      • ID number:
      • Contact Details where the Embassy can reach you (Tel & E-mail):
      • Name and address of host / hotel:
      • Date of Entry into host country:
      • Reason for trip:
      • Do you have a return ticket?:
      • Details of return ticket (Airline, date of entry and scheduled return):
      • Contact person and tel nr/e-mail of family in South Africa:
      • Place of residence in South Africa:
      • Nature of distress:

  18. I’m in Dubai I need a repatriating flight from Dubai to Nigeria I got my returning ticket through etihad airline how can I do that?

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out. For repatriation flights you would need to contact the nearest Nigerian Embassy in Dubai for assistance.

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.
      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.
      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

  19. Good day,
    I would like to know when the next flight carrying South African citizens will be coming in from Zambia

    • Hi Sharleen,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      For repatriation flights you would need to contact your nearest South African Embassy.

      Please find below contact details for South African High Commission in Lusaka.

      Zambia (Republic of)
      South African High Commission
      26D Cheetah Road
      Kabulonga
      Lusaka

      Postal Add:
      Private Bag W369
      Lusaka
      Zambia

      Tel: + 260 211 260 497
      Tel: + 260 211 265 571
      Fax: + 260 211 263 001

      After Hours Emergency Contact:
      Duty Officer: + 260 967 779 670

      E-mail:
      lusaka.admin@dirco.gov.za
      lusaka.dha@dirco.gov.za (Immigration and Civic Affairs)

      Website:
      http://www.dirco.gov.za/zambia/

  20. Hi, would there possibly be another repatriation flight out of Australia as I did not know or was informed of the one that has already been done.
    How do I actually go about being let known of such an upcoming opportunity?
    I am presently stuck in Adelaide in my 8 th week here now!
    Kind regards
    Claire Keyser.

    • Hi Claire,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You would need to contact your nearest South African Embassy and they will need to advise if there will e another repatriation flight and which city it will be flying out of.

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.

      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.

      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

      Family members who require more info about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the department of international relations and corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details: email addresses
      They have a 24 hour command center in south africa and 2 e-mail address’s
      +27 12 351 1754 +24 12 351 1756

      cicc1@dirco.gov.za
      cicc2@dirco.gov.za

      They’ve set up an operation / command center and they will have it is staffed 24 hours. They will direct any inquiry they receive from any part of the world to the appropriate mission.

      Their mission is to support SA citizens stranded and they are available at the Embassy and ready to help.

    • I have already submitted a question but up to date no reply

  21. I booked and paid for my flight to SA last year, but due to the coronavirus and lockdown, I have not been able to return to SA, Travelstart said they would hold my booking until I am able to fly home to SA, would that payment still be ok for when I can fly home?

    • Hi Patrica,

      Thanks for reaching out. Airlines are offering suspensions. This means they will put your booking on hold. If you have booked with Travelstart and when you are ready to travel we can re-book your new flights (travel will need to be completed within a certain time frame) Each airline has their own policy.

      Most airlines have wavered their airline penalty fee however the airline will requires us to collect any difference in fare and taxes when re-booking. The cost depends on what booking class is available. There will also be an admin fee to re-book.

      Please e-mail bookings@travelstart.com with your Travelstart reference number and they will respond with the policy for your flight booking.

  22. I had a flight with Emirates which was cancelled, and would like to get back to Toronto, Canada, could you please inform me if and when I am able to get back the soonest.
    I am currently a permanent resident of Canada.

    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for reaching out. Emirates flights departing out of Cape Town, OR Tambo and Durban are currently scheduled to re-commence on 1st July 2020

      However this all depends on the restrictions of each level during lockdown. For Canadian Citizens trying to get back home now they will need to contact their nearest Canadian Embassy:

      https://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/southafrica-afriquedusud/contact-contactez.aspx?lang=eng

      Telephone: +27 12 422 3000
      Email: pret-consul@international.gc.ca
      In person: office hours of the consular section are 9:00 to 12:00 (subject to change with no notice – you can call or email in advance)
      the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

    • I have 5 flights cancelled and I’m also desperate to get back to Canada. I’m a Canadian permanent resident of Canada residing there for 19 years. I have been stranded here in South Africa for 6 weeks. It seems nobody is able to help.

  23. Please please can we have repatriation flights from south American back home 🙏 I am stuck in Peru and there is no way out of hehe😢

    • Hi Anneline,

      Thanks for reaching out and sorry to hear this.

      For repatriation flights, you would need to contact the nearest South African Embassy direct.

      Family members who require more info about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the department of international relations and corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details: email addresses
      They have a 24 hour command center in south africa and 2 e-mail address’s
      +27 12 351 1754 +24 12 351 1756

      cicc1@dirco.gov.za
      cicc2@dirco.gov.za

      They’ve set up an operation / command center and they will have it is staffed 24 hours. They will direct any inquiry they receive from any part of the world to the opporirate mission.

      Their mission is to support SA citizens stranded and they are available at the Embassy and ready to help.

  24. I m a permanent Resident of the US not a citizen zi m stranded alone in Cape town My flight back home to Dallas was cancelled in March I have not seen my husband and children and grandchildren since January
    I have contacted the Tepayriation websites and filled in forms I can t get to Pretoria consulate where we have to gather and can t get to joburg from Cape Town to take a flight sometime in May no date
    What must I do ?
    I really want to get home

    • Hi Marlena,

      Thanks for reaching out. Try contact the bus companies as they are allowed to operate till 7 May, to see if you are able to get up to Pretoria.

  25. Will Travel Start keep alerting us about repatriation (or other) flights from the USA to South Africa?

    • Hi Ian,

      Thanks for reaching out. We do our best to keep our customers and readers up to date as best we can on repatriation flights. However this needs to be done directly through your nearest South African Embassy.

      For repatriation flights, passengers would need to contact the nearest South African Embassy direct.

      Family members who require more info about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the department of international relations and corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details: email addresses
      They have a 24 hour command center in south africa and 2 e-mail address’s
      +27 12 351 1754 +24 12 351 1756

      cicc1@dirco.gov.za
      cicc2@dirco.gov.za

      They’ve set up an operation / command center and they will have it is staffed 24 hours. They will direct any inquiry they receive from any part of the world to the opporirate mission.

      Their mission is to support SA citizens stranded and they are available at the Embassy and ready to help.

  26. Im thinking about getting a repatriation flight from London to OR on the 18th May – when I land at OR where will I have to go for quarantine and how much will it cost ?

    • Hi Dr Erasmus,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      All South Africans being repatriated are expected to pay an agreed airfare. Payments are made prior to being allocated a seat. In terms of the current regulations, every passenger should also enter into quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at an identified government
      On board screening is done by Port Health before disembarkation. Once cleared by immigration, passengers are escorted to an identified facility for the 14-day quarantine period.

  27. Hi, I am a permanent resident, staying in UK due to my flight home being cancelled by Emirates. They still have not issued me with a travel voucher. I was due to fly home on the 29 March.
    I am 65 years old, but have no symptoms of covid . Regards Pauline Negus

    • Hi Pauline,

      Thanks for getting in touch. For repatriation flights you would need to reach out and contact your nearest Embassy for assistance.

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.
      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.
      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

      Regarding your Emirates flight booking, at this stage airlines are unsure when flights will resume operation as South Africa is still in lockdown and they do not know if it will be extended, Airlines are working very hard to be ready to hit the ground running when the recovery eventually comes.

  28. Hi, I’m a South African Foreign national. I’m currently in France and need to go back in South Africa (Cape Town)
    Where can I find out for the next flight?

    • Hi Laurence,

      Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. For repatriation flights, you would need to contact your nearest South African Embassy direct.

      Family members who require more info about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the department of international relations and corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details: email addresses
      They have a 24 hour command center in south africa and 2 e-mail address’s
      +27 12 351 1754 +24 12 351 1756

      cicc1@dirco.gov.za
      cicc2@dirco.gov.za

      They’ve set up an operation / command center and they will have it is staffed 24 hours. They will direct any inquiry they receive from any part of the world to the appropriate mission.

      Their mission is to support SA citizens stranded and they are available at the Embassy and ready to help.

  29. which airlines are providing repatriation flights to South Africa in the near future (not the past)
    on what dates
    who to contact ?

    • Hi Alastair,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You would need to contact your nearest South African Embassy they will provide you with the relevant information.

      The embassy of the respective countries sends a notification to its citizens asking who’s interested in being repatriated.
      Based on demand, the foreign ministry of the home country then contacts airlines and/or travel companies who can help facilitate a repatriation flight.
      Once a flight has been scheduled, the travel date and other terms are communicated to the stranded citizens. Since there are often a limited number of seats available, certain groups such as the elderly or those with medical or other needs are often prioritized.
      The local embassy seeks approval from the departing country for landing permits and ensures that any other requirements are met.
      The embassies or travel companies involved typically send a link to book and pay to the prioritized passengers first. Remaining seats are then opened up to other travellers.

      Family members who require more info about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the department of international relations and corporation (DIRCO) on the following contact details: email addresses
      They have a 24 hour command center in south africa and 2 e-mail address’s
      +27 12 351 1754 +24 12 351 1756

      cicc1@dirco.gov.za
      cicc2@dirco.gov.za

      They’ve set up an operation / command center and they will have it is staffed 24 hours. They will direct any inquiry they receive from any part of the world to the opporirate mission.

      Their mission is to support SA citizens stranded and they are available at the Embassy and ready to help.

  30. What happens when you already have a return ticket on the approach, does one get some form of refund or does one qualify for the repatriation service automatically??

    • Hi Max,

      Thanks for reaching out. If the airline who you are currently flying on is doing the repatriation flight you could use your flight towards that. However when getting in touch with the Embassy they will advise on the correct procedures to follow and what documents are needed.

      If the airline doing the repatriation is not the airline you were originally flying with you would need to contact the agent or airline who you booked with direct to see what the rules are on your ticket regarding a refund or what other options are available.

  31. Hello.

    I wasnt to get a flight from Entebbe to South Africa when its available

    • Hi Cela,

      Thanks for getting in touch. At this stage airlines are unsure when flights will resume as South Africa is still in lockdown and they do not know if it will be extended, as well as Uganda could also still be in lockdown. Airlines are working very hard to be ready to hit the ground running when the recovery eventually comes. Airlines are confident that it will.

  32. Good day

    When will the next flight be available from London UK to SA OR Thambo. My daughter is studying in UK and a SA Citizen and her visa expires in July. With college closed they have given her the go ahead to return home (SA), but we dont really know how to go about finding out about flights etc.

    THanks

    • Hi Heleen,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you are a South African stranded abroad, please send an email to the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission with the below mentioned information in order to be registered on their database. Please note that Head Office is not registering South Africans on a database. That is the responsibility of the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission.

      Contact details for the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission can be found at the following link :
      http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm

      PLEASE NOTE THAT BY SENDING E-MAILS TO THE CICC1 ALONE, WILL DELAY THE PROCESS. PLEASE SEND THE INFORMATION TO THE RELEVANT EMBASSY / CONSULAR / HIGH COMMISSION DIRECTLY.

      Please include as much information as possible to the Embassy / Consulate / High Commission:

      • Country where you currently are:
      • Full names and surname:
      • Passport nr:
      • ID number:
      • Contact Details where the Embassy can reach you (Tel & E-mail):
      • Name and address of host / hotel:
      • Date of Entry into host country:
      • Reason for trip:
      • Do you have a return ticket?:
      • Details of return ticket (Airline, date of entry and scheduled return):
      • Contact person and tel nr/e-mail of family in South Africa:
      • Place of residence in South Africa:
      • Nature of distress:

    • Hello Heleen

      There is a flight leaving stagnated airport on about 19/5/2020 to OT

      my daughter Tamara Dyson is on the flight

      I’m going to pass on the contacts no that is arranging the flights

      the bookings closed at midday today but u can only try

      they ere flying lanserie/stansed/lanseria with 150 passengers per end

      Ree’s no is 0649225860

      MY name is Kent Dyson 08 28 28 28 in SA

      Best of luck

      Kent

      kent@dysons.co.za

  33. Good day
    please could advise if there are any repatriation flights arranged for South africans stranded in China
    My name is Ambigay Naidoo and I have a daughter that is in China who cannot get a flight out of China .
    Can anyone assist me with contacting the Minister of international relations ,to enquire about the repriatation of south Africans in China
    On the 19/04/2020 I wrote to DIRCO because there telephone numbers were unavailable -no answer.
    Emailed to Cicc1@dirco.gov.za and Cicc2@dirco.gov.za)

    Received an out of office response and was advised to notify the south African embassy however the email address in Beijing was returned advising the email address is no longer available and the one in Shanghai came back OUT OF OFFICE ,the telephone numbers are continuously ringing ,not being answered at all .

    My daughter Shirvanee Naidoo is in China -Changsha Shia
    She went over two years ago to teach English because she was unemployed in S.A Her contract has ended and should be coming back to SA.
    She could only get a flight for the 12th May 2020 from Guangzhou to Kenya, to SA.
    However due to the travel restrictions in Kenya and the racism acts that happening against the Africans in Guangzhou.
    There is a possibility that she might not be able to come home and will probably be left stranded at an airport due to:
    Kenya does not lift the travel restriction and flight is cancelled
    Chinese Humanitarian Visa expires on the 13th May 2020.
    Her life is in danger if she flies from Guangzhou .

    The flight ticket that my daughter had booked and paid for was cancelled by Kenya Airline
    We tried to booked another flight but there is no flights coming from China to Johannesburg

    We would like to know when is the government going to assist the south African’s that are stranded in China and I am talking about close to 300 people are stranded in other cities of China .

    We pleading to our government to help our children that are stranded ,especially in China where they could be in danger . xenophobia against the Africans due to the believe that they bringing back the virus .

    Kind Regards
    Ambigay Naidoo
    Cell 0834619703

  34. good afternoon, my husband passed away on the 15 April 2020, my daughter works for Westair Namibia, if she does get a fright back to SA where will she be going for the 14 day quarantine. we are so desperate to get her home but we are worried where she will be for the 14 days, what about meals and facilities.
    appreciate your assistance.

    • Hi Gaynor,

      Thanks for reaching out and sorry to hear of the loss of your husband.

      On board screening is done by Port Health before disembarkation. Once cleared by immigration, passengers are escorted to an identified facility for the 14-day quarantine period. However they do not advise where. You would need to follow up with the South African Embassy or directly with the airline doing the repatriation flight.

  35. My cousin is currently in Evander, Mpumalanga, South Africa and needs to get back to Dubai. How can I advise him to go about trying to get a repatriation flight to Dubai.

    • Hi Rochel,

      Thanks for reaching out. Repatriation flights are citizens needing to fly back to their own country. If you cousin is a citizen of Dubai or holds permanent residence he would need to contact the nearest UAE Embassy in South Africa for assistance.

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