South African Airways Partners with Alaska Airlines

by David Cogswell
South African Airways Partners with Alaska Airlines

South African Airways (SAA) has signed an interline agreement with Alaska Airlines. Photo: Vytautas Kielaitis /

South African Airways (SAA) has signed an interline agreement with Alaska Airlines, making it possible to book a single ticket from any of Alaska Airlines’ origin cities in the U.S. (such as Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland) straight through to Johannesburg, South Africa, via New York JFK or Washington Dulles on SAA.

The same applies to any of Alaska Airlines’ 115 destinations throughout the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii.

On the African end, the interline partnership allows travelers to extend their flights beyond Johannesburg into any of SAA’s 75 connection cities on the African continent, including Cape Town, South Africa; Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Dakar, Senegal. In Africa, SAA extends its reach throughout the continent through its partner airlines SA Express, Airlink, and its own low-cost carrier Mango.

The agreement helps to further streamline passage from North America to Africa for many American travelers. Because of international air travel agreements and regulations, only carriers based in the U.S. or Africa can fly direct between the two continents. European or Gulf State carriers must make a stop in their home countries between Africa and the U.S.

Those regulations give U.S.- or African-based airlines a significant time advantage in long-haul, transcontinental flights between the U.S. and Africa. Flights directly from New York to Johannesburg last about 14 hours. Flights that stop in Europe or the Gulf States are significantly longer.

Ethiopian Airlines has developed a strong transportation hub for East Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; while South African Airways retains a strong hub for Southern Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. The interline agreement with Alaska Airlines strengthens the hand of South African Airways by extending its advantage as an African carrier farther into North America.

SAA also has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines.

“This interline partnership will enable SAA and Alaska Airlines to expand their route networks to provide some of the quickest and most convenient connections between many West Coast U.S. cities and some truly amazing destinations throughout Africa,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president-North America, for South African Airways.

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