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jhenry1

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We are looking to book the Regent cruise in Dec of 2020 from Cape Town to Cape Town. We live in Austin Texas and have cruised on Regent many times and love the cruise line. We have always paid the fees and picked our own flights and have through our TA always been able to get the flights and airlines we wanted. Flying from Austin can be a tricky thing and a lot of stops and long lay overs. Those of you who have been to Cape Town what do you think are the best airlines to fly. I also saw a thread that talked about the Africa cruise for this year that the excursions were all booked with no openings. That really concerns me as we have never encountered this problem. We can also fly out of Houston which might make it a little easier. We booked the Jan 2020 cruise from Sydney to Auckland and we booked flights through Regent flying from Houston. Always been lucky choosing airlines and flights. Thanks a lot to my TA.

 

Kandy and Ron

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Not certain why you say Austin is "difficult". You have numerous flights to the AA and UA hubs at DFW and IAH, and a reasonable number to ATL.

 

One big thing for you to decide for yourself is how important your routing is. Premium cabin for direct flights from North America to South Africa are precious. And the flights go from the USA to JNB, so you would still need a connection to CPT.

 

A variant would be to fly from the USA to Europe, and then fly non-stop to CPT. British, KLM, Lufthansa, and Turkish operate nonstop to CPT, as do Emirates and Qatar through the Mideast, and Singapore via the Pacific. You also have Austrian and Cathay with seasonal service.

 

Start by thinking what your priorities are, considering carrier, equipment, routing, travel times and more. Lots of cost/benefit tradeoffs to consider, but doing that kind of analysis up front will save you time and frustration later on.

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Another possibility which we did without hassle was Delta/KLM. That was December, 2015 for a pre-cruise safari before Mariner, Cape Town to Rio. First class service all the way. Delta (Red Eye) from SEATAC to Amsterdam; three hour layover (with access to Lounge); then nonstop to Cape Town. Arrived at 2200H. This was the most efficient routing for us; was arranged through our TA, and "approved" by Regent with no deviation fees attached.

 

Just a thought.

 

GOARMY!

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This past spring we flew on Emirates from Dulles to Dubai, and then with a short layover, on to Cape Town. We booked our own flights. Very enjoyable business class, with no need of a hotel overnight. We went on safari and then got on the Navigator in Cape Town and sailed to Rio. Loved the trip!

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This past spring we flew on Emirates from Dulles to Dubai, and then with a short layover, on to Cape Town. We booked our own flights. Very enjoyable business class, with no need of a hotel overnight. We went on safari and then got on the Navigator in Cape Town and sailed to Rio. Loved the trip!

 

You picked the best airline and routing for your cruise for sure.

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You picked the best airline and routing for your cruise for sure.

 

As long as it was on an A380. Otherwise, I might disagree. Most of the EK 777 fleet has an outdated 2-3-2 layout for business class, with older slantboard seats and zilch private space.

 

If it was an A380 to A380 itinerary - YES! All of my Emirates flights have been on A380s - and it's well worth the while to properly research equipment on your options.

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Another possibility which we did without hassle was Delta/KLM. That was December, 2015 for a pre-cruise safari before Mariner, Cape Town to Rio. First class service all the way. Delta (Red Eye) from SEATAC to Amsterdam; three hour layover (with access to Lounge); then nonstop to Cape Town.

 

Neither Delta nor KLM offer first class service on intercontinental flights -- business only.

 

And, I had previously mentioned routing via KLM at AMS.

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British Airways had a direct flight to London from Austin last year...don't know if it's still operating.

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As long as it was on an A380. Otherwise, I might disagree. Most of the EK 777 fleet has an outdated 2-3-2 layout for business class, with older slantboard seats and zilch private space.

 

If it was an A380 to A380 itinerary - YES! All of my Emirates flights have been on A380s - and it's well worth the while to properly research equipment on your options.

 

We always fly the the A-380 out of JFK and have been in first and business the other is Etihad in their apartments both are fantastic. Singapore Airlines is also a wonderful experience as well and the food and service fantastic as well. Qantas has an excellent product as well on the long haul flights.

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Yes BA still flies direct from Austin to London and we have flown it many times as you can get anywhere from Heathrow. I just detest Heathrow and changing flights there. But it is nice that we can get there non stop. Yes we have also connected through Houston and Dallas. In fact we flew out of Dallas in June for our Regent Med cruise that we took our daughter on. We flew American and had not flown them in a while in business class and it was very nice. Actually better than the BA we have from Austin to London.

 

I will check prior to booking and thanks for all the suggestions. I am looking for the shortest flights with fewest connections and least amount of layover times.

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I will check prior to booking and thanks for all the suggestions. I am looking for the shortest flights with fewest connections and least amount of layover times.

 

Very wise. Since Heathrow is our home airport, it was great to fly direct at the end of our road trip last year, but I quite understand how a connection changes the situation completely! Cape Town is just so far from everywhere, isn't it ;);)?

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For our upcoming cruise 2018 Lisbon to CapeTown, Regent offered us CPT to LHR to DFW on BA & AA combination for our return flight. Didn't work for us but that was one of the routings that Regent had this year.

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I am looking for the shortest flights with fewest connections and least amount of layover times.

 

Let's start with the simplest.

 

Unless you go via LHR, you will not have a single connection itinerary available to you. It may show as either a BA, AA or IB flight, but all are the same BA aircraft AUS-LHR. And it would leave you with a roughly 8 hour connection time.

 

Next would be a double connect, one of which in the USA, through either AMS, FRA, IST, DXB, DOH or SIN.

 

Another double connect would be through either JFK or ATL to JNB, then a domestic flight from JNB to CPT.

 

I would suggest that you be careful on your desire for "least amount of layover times" for several reasons. The first is that many of these itineraries are once a day flights. Miss it and you wait a day for the next flight and hope there are seats available. Better, IMO, to pad the connection times with a goal of not misconnecting. Or at least not select something right at the Minimum Connection Time (MCT). A second reason is that flying business, you will have access to lounges at the connection points. That makes for a great time for a shower, change of clothes, and a relaxing break between flights. And some lounges are actually worth selecting a longer connection if possible. The TK lounge at IST and the VS lounge at LHR are two that come to mind, along with the CX lounge at HKG.

 

Finally, I suggest you play around with your various options at ITA Matrix.

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DL (Delta) does have a non stop out of ATL to JNB but if something goes wrong you may be spending the night there not fun. If you connect through FRA, DXB, LHR you have many other options but that depends on alliances and codeshares.

 

I am sure Flyer Talker knows this but before deregulation of the airlines one could take their ticket and get an endorsement from one airline to the other. Let’s say you were going from JFK-CDG on the legendary Pan Am and it cancelled you could get the endorsement over to TWA who had flights with seats as the fares were controlled back in the day. Not so today. Deregulation started in 1978 and the CAB was eliminated. Then came the LCC low cost carriers that crippled legendary airline like Eastern, Pan Am, Braniff and a slew of others due to consolidation and spokes and hubs came into fruition leaving less choices of nonstops and simply degrading service.

 

 

Flyer Talker, please add anything else you like. Yes, airline travel is not what it used to be for sure.

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Let's start with the simplest.

 

"....I would suggest that you be careful on your desire for "least amount of layover times" for several reasons. The first is that many of these itineraries are once a day flights. Miss it and you wait a day for the next flight and hope there are seats available..."

 

FlyTalker - So very, very true! Attempting to "minimize layovers" I once walked myself into a situation which offered no "fall back plan". A few years ago, on a Regent cruise from Stockholm to Amsterdam, I chose BA's N/S evening flight out of PHX to LHR (with a connection to ARN.......(biggest mistake - choosing BA). Second mistake was that it was a "once a day flight" and, in fact, that was BA's ONLY service out of/into PHX. A big Boo-Boo on my part! Lesson learned.

 

Well you guessed it. Equipment problems on our early evening 747 departure out of PHX. And throughout the evening, BA kept "jacking us around", promising spare parts coming from LAX at any moment, another plane coming in fron LAX, etc., etc. None of which turned out to be true. In actual fact they "strung everyone out" long enough, that by the time we found out what was REALLY going to happen, all our alternative flights (on other carriers) that evening had left PHX for the night. We were Business Class but they were going to be damned if they were going to put any of us on another/alternative flight on another carried (and there were tons of them) to LAX, JFK, ATL, MSP or IAD, etc. that evening so we could catch alternative flights/connections to LHR/ARN by other means and arrive near the originally scheduled time of our original BA flight.

 

So ultimately, we were delayed in PHX (our home town) for 24 hours until the next BA 747 came in the next evening for the usual "turnaround", and they put us all on that flight to LHR. And in the process "screwed" with the next day's plane load of BA passengers who were normally scheduled on THAT flight to LHR. They all got delayed for about 4 hours until BA finally got another backup aircraft for them out of LAX). So with their "management brilliance", they actually screwed two 747 manifests!

 

To add insult to injury, BA put us in a hotel overnight (in PHX) on that first evening (cautioning all of us NOT to go back home) and "sincerely promising us" an "early morning" flight out of PHX with another replacement plane - which didn't happen either! They advised everyone to stay in "close proximity" to the airport. It turns out that we could have just driven back to our own house that night, slept in our bed, and returned to PHX for the next "normal" BA departure the next evening to LHR.

 

They put us in a crappy hotel near the airport (at 11PM that night). And we all trouped back to PHX like "good little sheep" the next morning to catch this "fictional 7AM BA flight" (getting about 4-5 hours of sleep) that was supposedly going to be our "special flight" to LHR. 12 hours later - after sitting at PHX all day and with little sleep, we were put on the next normally scheduled BA flight to LHR. And as "compensation", DW and I each got a measly $100 voucher (these were originally $5,000 tickets) to use on another BA flight - but it had to be within the next 12 months. Big Deal! Why would they think that we would EVER fly BA again?

 

Fortunately, we had planned our original itinerary to get into Stockholm almost 2 days early (prior to the cruise) to do some sightseeing. Well that plan went right into the toilet, but fortunately, we did (barely) arrive in Stockholm with enough time to make it onto the ship before it departed.

 

So many lessons learned from that experience. Don't "assume" that everything will go as planned. Don't pick an airline that has no multiple departures or services to "somewhere else", which would give you alternative routing options to your destination. Always have a "back up plan" (alternative flights) in your pocket. And always allow an extra day or two in your departure city - particularly on overseas sailings. My experience has been that most decent airlines will "take care of" their Business/FC passengers and will try very hard to get them on alternative flights/routing (even on alternative airlines - but they really hate to do that!) when they know (full well, as BA did) that the original flight just isn't going to "fly".

 

((PS - the $100 BA vouchers went right into my shredder and since then, I've never considered BA as ever being a viable option for any travel, anywhere), certainly when I have other choices.

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FlyerTalker - good information as usual.

 

What some posters may not know is that you can find many flights that are perfect (non-stop, etc.) but Regent will not approve them. It is not because they do not contract with the carrier but because their contracts are only for a certain number of seats per flight. For that reason, I always recommend deviating 270 days prior to the cruise. There will obviously be more available flights/seats 270 days prior to sailing than there will be when Regent chooses and informs passengers of their flights 75 days prior to sailing. At that point, if the passenger is not happy with their flights, there are less choices (whether you deviate or book it yourself).

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Let's start with the simplest.

 

"....I would suggest that you be careful on your desire for "least amount of layover times" for several reasons. The first is that many of these itineraries are once a day flights. Miss it and you wait a day for the next flight and hope there are seats available..."

 

FlyTalker - So very, very true! Attempting to "minimize layovers" I once walked myself into a situation which offered no "fall back plan". A few years ago, on a Regent cruise from Stockholm to Amsterdam, I chose BA's N/S evening flight out of PHX to LHR (with a connection to ARN.......(biggest mistake - choosing BA). Second mistake was that it was a "once a day flight" and, in fact, that was BA's ONLY service out of/into PHX. A big Boo-Boo on my part! Lesson learned.

 

Well you guessed it. Equipment problems on our early evening 747 departure out of PHX. And throughout the evening, BA kept "jacking us around", promising spare parts coming from LAX at any moment, another plane coming in fron LAX, etc., etc. None of which turned out to be true. In actual fact they "strung everyone out" long enough, that by the time we found out what was REALLY going to happen, all our alternative flights (on other carriers) that evening had left PHX for the night. We were Business Class but they were going to be damned if they were going to put any of us on another/alternative flight on another carried (and there were tons of them) to LAX, JFK, ATL, MSP or IAD, etc. that evening so we could catch alternative flights/connections to LHR/ARN by other means and arrive near the originally scheduled time of our original BA flight.

 

So ultimately, we were delayed in PHX (our home town) for 24 hours until the next BA 747 came in the next evening for the usual "turnaround", and they put us all on that flight to LHR. And in the process "screwed" with the next day's plane load of BA passengers who were normally scheduled on THAT flight to LHR. They all got delayed for about 4 hours until BA finally got another backup aircraft for them out of LAX). So with their "management brilliance", they actually screwed two 747 manifests!

 

To add insult to injury, BA put us in a hotel overnight (in PHX) on that first evening (cautioning all of us NOT to go back home) and "sincerely promising us" an "early morning" flight out of PHX with another replacement plane - which didn't happen either! They advised everyone to stay in "close proximity" to the airport. It turns out that we could have just driven back to our own house that night, slept in our bed, and returned to PHX for the next "normal" BA departure the next evening to LHR.

 

They put us in a crappy hotel near the airport (at 11PM that night). And we all trouped back to PHX like "good little sheep" the next morning to catch this "fictional 7AM BA flight" (getting about 4-5 hours of sleep) that was supposedly going to be our "special flight" to LHR. 12 hours later - after sitting at PHX all day and with little sleep, we were put on the next normally scheduled BA flight to LHR. And as "compensation", DW and I each got a measly $100 voucher (these were originally $5,000 tickets) to use on another BA flight - but it had to be within the next 12 months. Big Deal! Why would they think that we would EVER fly BA again?

 

Fortunately, we had planned our original itinerary to get into Stockholm almost 2 days early (prior to the cruise) to do some sightseeing. Well that plan went right into the toilet, but fortunately, we did (barely) arrive in Stockholm with enough time to make it onto the ship before it departed.

 

So many lessons learned from that experience. Don't "assume" that everything will go as planned. Don't pick an airline that has no multiple departures or services to "somewhere else", which would give you alternative routing options to your destination. Always have a "back up plan" (alternative flights) in your pocket. And always allow an extra day or two in your departure city - particularly on overseas sailings. My experience has been that most decent airlines will "take care of" their Business/FC passengers and will try very hard to get them on alternative flights/routing (even on alternative airlines - but they really hate to do that!) when they know (full well, as BA did) that the original flight just isn't going to "fly".

 

((PS - the $100 BA vouchers went right into my shredder and since then, I've never considered BA as ever being a viable option for any travel, anywhere), certainly when I have other choices.

 

As I have said before, we avoid BA and AA for any international flights as they are codeshares and not dependable. We look for other options that will allow us better connections as a backup.

 

Sometimes when you take chances be prepared to pay the price and inconvenience and financially.

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Malbec - Absolutely right! My only reason for relating my long/drawn out "rant" (sorry everyone) was to give a "true life" account of "what can happen" when you pick a flight/connection that at first, "looks good" - but then can turn into a very poor choice in the long run. It backed up what "Flyertalker" was advising.

 

In my "former life" (in the workplace) I had a job for 20 years where I flying between 100K and 200K a year, with 60% of it being international. So I wasn't a "rookie" when it came to flying and living in airport terminals. But for that one trip, I made a dumb decision. But, we learn and "move on". Regards.

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Malbec - Absolutely right! My only reason for relating my long/drawn out "rant" (sorry everyone) was to give a "true life" account of "what can happen" when you pick a flight/connection that at first, "looks good" - but then can turn into a very poor choice in the long run. It backed up what "Flyertalker" was advising.

 

In my "former life" (in the workplace) I had a job for 20 years where I flying between 100K and 200K a year, with 60% of it being international. So I wasn't a "rookie" when it came to flying and living in airport terminals. But for that one trip, I made a dumb decision. But, we learn and "move on". Regards.

 

You should know as a smart traveler. We book our own air and try to avoid misconnects and always have a backup plan as most people shoul do.

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Great prior posts as to travails when booking international travel.

 

Flyer Talker: Yes, I left one word out of my earlier posting as to Delta level of service from SEATAC to Amsterdam, which was described as First Class. The third word should have been "Service". We were, technically, in Business--not First, as you pointed out--on legs from SEATAC to Amsterdam; then KLM from Amsterdam to Cape Town. Same Business Class level on Delta on our return to the USA following that Regent cruise which ended at Rio. (One day early due to a medical emergency which required deviation from the planned itinerary from Cape Town.)

 

Stuff always happens. Once in Atlanta, domestic Delta First Class back to SEATAC.

 

From our perspective as international travelers for over 25 years: Delta/KLM service, while not technically "First" as to getting to Cape Town, was first-class concerning amenities such as fully-recline seats, service, fine wines, food, and such. We do not expect staff to strew rose petals in our path upon boarding. Rather: attentive onboard service as to all elements of service as to this, very-long connection from Seattle to Cape Town.

 

We went into this situation, eyes wide-open as to connections. And, upon recommendation of our TA, we made sure to arrive in Cape Town four--four days early. Just-in-case. TS: you may want to consider this aspect from the perspective of accounting for problems, and just to get a few additional days at Cape Town before joining-up with other Regent travelers. Our TA made a good call. TA recommended we stay at Victoria-Albert Hotel (VA). This location is about 5k from downtown. It is in the continually-renovated Pier area. What a great site!

 

A VA van met us at the airport. Quick transfer to hotel. Three very-pleasant days using VA as a base of operations while doing the usual Cape Town-area related tours. Table Mountain, and such. BTW: every breakfast included--Champagne! No charge. Also, the exchange rates were--and remain--very favorable as to U.S. Dollar. We experienced 5+star dinners at nearby restaurants (arranged by VA Concierge, when requested), and at VA.

 

Then, a van transferred us--with much baggage--to Regent's designated hotel in downtown Cape Town. Thus, another overnight at a great hotel (cannot recall the name) before van transfer to airport for flight to Port Elizabeth to begin our pre-cruise safari.

 

Now, as related to other Thread entries--based on previous experiences flying from Seattle to Far East, Australia-New Zealand, French Polynesia, South America, London, Stockholm, and such to begin cruises on several 5+lines including Regent--

 

Offer this thought. Always have Plan B. We allow two, at a minimum, days between leaving Seattle before actual boarding any ship. This takes into account Local Time at that particular embarkation site.

 

This is in addition to obtaining Insurance coverage. Cruise long enough, and every conceivable problem will confront you. Be Prepared.

 

GOARMY!

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Great prior posts as to travails when booking international travel.

 

Flyer Talker: Yes, I left one word out of my earlier posting as to Delta level of service from SEATAC to Amsterdam, which was described as First Class. The third word should have been "Service". We were, technically, in Business--not First, as you pointed out--on legs from SEATAC to Amsterdam; then KLM from Amsterdam to Cape Town. Same Business Class level on Delta on our return to the USA following that Regent cruise which ended at Rio. (One day early due to a medical emergency which required deviation from the planned itinerary from Cape Town.)

 

Stuff always happens. Once in Atlanta, domestic Delta First Class back to SEATAC.

 

From our perspective as international travelers for over 25 years: Delta/KLM service, while not technically "First" as to getting to Cape Town, was first-class concerning amenities such as fully-recline seats, service, fine wines, food, and such. We do not expect staff to strew rose petals in our path upon boarding. Rather: attentive onboard service as to all elements of service as to this, very-long connection from Seattle to Cape Town.

 

We went into this situation, eyes wide-open as to connections. And, upon recommendation of our TA, we made sure to arrive in Cape Town four--four days early. Just-in-case. TS: you may want to consider this aspect from the perspective of accounting for problems, and just to get a few additional days at Cape Town before joining-up with other Regent travelers. Our TA made a good call. TA recommended we stay at Victoria-Albert Hotel (VA). This location is about 5k from downtown. It is in the continually-renovated Pier area. What a great site!

 

A VA van met us at the airport. Quick transfer to hotel. Three very-pleasant days using VA as a base of operations while doing the usual Cape Town-area related tours. Table Mountain, and such. BTW: every breakfast included--Champagne! No charge. Also, the exchange rates were--and remain--very favorable as to U.S. Dollar. We experienced 5+star dinners at nearby restaurants (arranged by VA Concierge, when requested), and at VA.

 

Then, a van transferred us--with much baggage--to Regent's designated hotel in downtown Cape Town. Thus, another overnight at a great hotel (cannot recall the name) before van transfer to airport for flight to Port Elizabeth to begin our pre-cruise safari.

 

Now, as related to other Thread entries--based on previous experiences flying from Seattle to Far East, Australia-New Zealand, French Polynesia, South America, London, Stockholm, and such to begin cruises on several 5+lines including Regent--

 

Offer this thought. Always have Plan B. We allow two, at a minimum, days between leaving Seattle before actual boarding any ship. This takes into account Local Time at that particular embarkation site.

 

This is in addition to obtaining Insurance coverage. Cruise long enough, and every conceivable problem will confront you. Be Prepared.

 

GOARMY!

 

Excellent advice and Cape Town is fabulous. When we cruise we go to the embarkation port at least two days early. Cape Town for sight seeing with all the above mentioned I would do 3-4 days and also visit the wine country very enjoyable and a great way to start off a cruise. The only thing with Table Mountain is they are loaded with Baboons those pesky primates. You will see plenty of warnings there not to bring food or drink with you. They do have a nice restaurant at the summit.

 

For us we would not cut corners on this or risk flight interruptions out of the airlines control.

 

Whatever your decision I hope you enjoy this great itinerary.

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