Not saving the planet

26 07 2012

“Yes it is expensive” commented the travel agent, “but I have just started booking the tickets for the school holidays and they are 900 dollars”.

I looked in disbelief at the sum of $535 she’d written on the printout of my itinerary and wondered if it would be cheaper to drive to Jo’burg. I had to go for a follow-up consultation for my knee replacement but the thought of driving through the lowveld heat in October was distinctly unappealing.

It’s 970km to OR Tambo airport in Jo’burg from Harare. For a return trip that makes it US27.5c a km. It is slightly further to drive but $535 would buy me about 420 litres of diesel which in my Land Cruiser, which is not very economical, would take me some 3360 km. Where is the incentive to take a more eco-friendly flight? The convenience of a flight is obviously a big factor in flying, driving is tedious over that sort of distance, and I can be home the next day if I fly. Unfortunately SAA and BA are the only carriers on that route and they can pretty much charge what they like.

I would be interested to know if there are any other international flights out there that compare with this one.