How do you feel about flying?
Some people associate flying with fun and going on holiday while others are petrified at the thought of being confined for hours in a metal tube, hurtling through the sky.
To many businessmen it is nothing more than a regular boring commute, for holiday makers it’s part of an exciting adventure.
As a frequent flyer there I things I love and things I definitely do not love about flying.
I Love taking off. There is something thrilling about that speed and surge of power just before liftoff. I am a window seat person, I can gaze at the mini world below me for an entire flight. Small planes are great, you feel every bump and the whole experience feels more personal. Airport shops are the best place to find South African branded goods and books and guides about our country. I adore small airports like Lanseria, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth and George. No queues or crowds and the staff are usually friendly, adding to the holiday vibe.
I do not love the middle seat , does anyone actually choose this seat on purpose? Going through the security check trying to hold my phone and ID, while carrying a 25kg bag with my laptop and camera gear is not my idea of fun. And why must I take my laptop out of the bag? Inconsiderate passengers who invade my personal space bubble, hold up the queue arranging or retrieving their huge bags and do silent, sneaky farts for the entire flight are not my favourite people.
Last weekend I flew from Cape Town to George. What a civilised way to get to the Garden Route. The small plane only had the capacity for 40 people and was not even half full. Fifty minutes from takeoff to touchdown. Just enough time for a drink, a snack and a quick look out of the window.
Regardless of your attitude to flying, most holidays start with picking a destination, then finding and booking a flight.
An analysis of more than 800 000 individual trips booked on Travelstart.co.za since the start of 2017 revealed the most popular flight routes out of the major South African airports.
It is no big surprise that the Cape Town to Joburg flight is the most popular domestic route by far.
Visit CT International airport of any day of the week at four in the morning to see the crowds standing around sleepy eyed to catch one of the ten or more flights going to Johannesburg between 6 and 7 am.
The top five international destinations were an interesting indication of emerging trends.
Top 5 International Destinations for South Africans in 2018
- Harare. For the first time, Harare tops the list of most popular international destinations for flights originating in South Africa. The changing political climate in Zimbabwe has seen a massive increase in the tourism industry. The countries slogan is “A world of Wonders” and Zimbabwe is once again becoming a popular holiday destination for South Africans. Check out Zimbabwe Tourism and plan a holiday there before it is on everyone’s radar.
- London. No big surprise as most South Africans have friends or family trying to make pounds or a better life in the UK. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and SAA all offer direct flights between Heathrow Airport and South Africa. In October 2018, BA will launch direct flights between Durban and London. While we all want to save our Rands, a direct flight is so much better than 40 hours of travel, hanging around in airports and resisting the temptation to sleep on the airport floor, or rushing to make connecting flights. London as a holiday destination has something for everyone, so long as you take plenty of warm clothes if you go during their winter months.
- Windhoek. I enjoy this city and I’m going there in October to visit my family and grand children who have just moved there. Air Namibia is going to be my new best friend as I will be flying to Windhoek at least four times a year from now on. I love the architecture and photography opportunities in Windhoek and the accessibility to remote locations, sand dunes, wilderness and fascinating tiny towns. Namibia is a great destination for those who enjoy the natural environment.
4. Mauritius. This is a no brainer, cost effective, beaches and a holiday vibe, Mauritius has been a firm favourite with South Africans for years.
- New York City. They say the Big Apple must be experienced to be appreciated, and the 16 hour flight is worth it for the energy of the city that never sleeps. Emirates flies directly to New York City from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban daily.
Which of these five cities would be your dream holiday destination?
Start dreaming and save the date for the Travelstart birthday sale from the 27th to 31st August 2018. I will be online first thing finding the cheapest flights to Windhoek.
New routes will be offered each day and incredible domestic and international flight deals on major airlines are up for grabs.
Disclosure. This post is part of a collaboration with Travelstart. As always, opinions are my own.