SAA vs Mango vs Kulula vs BA – Flight price showdown

Booking flights can be an expensive exercise in South Africa, especially if you are trying to get a ticket close to your departure date.

Prices can vary according to flight times, airline, and your preferred class of travel.

Luckily, the ability to book online as well as check-in and reserve your seats has made the experience of organising a flight in South Africa much easier.

It has also made selecting an airline quick and simple.

Major airlines in South Africa are South African Airways (SAA), Mango, Kulula, Safair, and British Airways.

If you do not have a preference for any of these airlines, you can use comparison websites such as Cheapflights or Travelstart to find the cheapest option available.

To see who is the cheapest at the moment, we looked for local flights on major airlines and compared the website and pricing for each.

South African Airways

Despite the absolute mess that is its financial situation, SAA’s website runs well and is easy to navigate.

Prices of flights and their times are outlined clearly, and it is stated whether a flight is operated by SAA or a partner airline.

Booking a round trip is relatively easy, and users can clearly see what class they are paying for along with any extra charges.

South African Airways screenshot


Mango only operates domestically, making it easier to search through airports to book your flights.

The website is quick and responsive, and useful features such as the ability to sort by price makes finding the cheapest offers available effortless.

The number of seats remaining on popular flights is also displayed.

Mango screenshot


Kulula’s website is also quick, and the flight booking interface displays the lowest prices available for each date before you select your flight plan.

BA flights are also available through the portal.

Kulula screenshot


Safair’s website has a simple interface and is straightforward to navigate.

Selecting flights is where things get a bit more complex though, as the airline’s cheapest fare does not include checked baggage.

This means that customers will have to pay extra to check in a bag if they need to, and this extra charge is usually more than the “Lite” and “Standard” fare.

Safair screenshot

British Airways

British Airways, operated by Comair, has a website which is easy to navigate, but it does take a while to load.

It is also the only airline which advertises hotel and rental car packages while you are booking your tickets.

British Airways screenshot

Return flight prices

We compared the online ticket prices for return flights from Johannesburg OR Tambo to Durban, and to Cape Town.

For each airline’s online booking platform, we selected the cheapest departure flights available on 25 January 2019 and return flights for 30 January 2019.

We selected the cheapest airfare available for each airline, not including any flights which were operated by partner airlines.

The lowest class of travel which included checked luggage was selected for each airline ticket.

The results of this ticket price comparison are below.

Return Flights JHB <> DUR JHB <> CPT
South African Airways R1,352 R3,719
Mango R786 R1,883
Kulula R909 R2,691
Safair R1,098 R2,198
British Airways R972 R3,271

Now read: SAA and 3 African airlines are in talks to form an alliance

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SAA vs Mango vs Kulula vs BA – Flight price showdown