Delta’s much-anticipated tag flight to Cape Town now bookable

Jun 21, 2020

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It’s been exactly one month since Delta shared plans to return to South Africa in October with new joint service to Cape Town and Johannesburg and flights are now available for booking.

As of today, Delta’s flights from Atlanta (ATL) to Cape Town (CPT) are officially on sale, with the first flight scheduled to depart Oct. 24, 2020. The service will extend the Atlanta-based carrier’s existing daily nonstop between Atlanta and Johannesburg (JNB) to a triangle that includes a stop in Cape Town (CPT) on the return leg. Delta is not selling tickets for local traffic between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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Delta plans to add service to Cape Town as part of a new circle route with Johannesburg on the A350. (Image by Cirium)
Delta will add service to Cape Town as part of a new circle route with Johannesburg on the A350. (Image by Cirium)

The schedule for the new route is as follows (all times are local):

  • Depart Atlanta at 5:45 p.m., arrive Johannesburg at 2:45 p.m. on the next day
  • Depart Johannesburg at 4:15 p.m., arrive Cape Town at 6:30 p.m.
  • Depart Cape Town at 8:30 p.m., arrive Atlanta at 6:45 a.m. on the next day

The entire trip from Atlanta to Cape Town will take 18 hours and 45 minutes. Cape Town passengers will likely not need to deplane during the Johannesburg stop.

The route will be operated by Delta’s flagship Airbus A350 aircraft, outfitted with 32 fully enclosed Delta One business class suites, 48 Premium Select premium economy seats and 226 economy seats. The Atlanta to Johannesburg flight was previously flown exclusively with the Boeing 777s, but those will all be retired by the end of fall due to coronavirus-related fleet reductions.

Related: The ultimate guide to Delta One Suites

Delta’s A350s feature fully enclosed suites in business class. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Cash rates start at $1,715 round-trip in economy or a whopping $13,500 in Delta One. Award rates are even steeper at 280,000 SkyMiles round-trip in coach or 930,000 miles in Delta One. Premium Select is not bookable yet.

Of course, these rates are hardly a bargain and not worth jumping on unless you’re a die-hard AvGeek and want to make sure you have a seat on the inaugural flight. Delta hasn’t released any discount revenue fare classes yet so it’s possible that cheaper fares will be available as we get closer to launch.

While there’s certainly no guarantee of award space opening up, that would also be when saver-level awards potentially become available to partners like Virgin Atlantic. If and when that happens, you’ll be able to book awards for as low as 40,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points one-way in economy or just 60,000 points in Delta One.

Related: Dreaming of South Africa: How I’m planning to return using points, miles and cash

This won’t be the first time Delta flies to Cape Town. The airline served the city and Johannesburg from Atlanta and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) via Dakar (DSS) from 2008 to 2009 using Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Connecting passengers did not need to deplane in Dakar on those flights.

Delta won’t be the only U.S. carrier to serve the Western Cape either. United began seasonal nonstop service between the Western Cape and Newark Liberty (EWR) with a Boeing 787 in December and plans to bring it back this fall, a spokesperson told TPG.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Featured image by ©fitopardo/Getty Images.

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