Domestic flights for dummies!

Recently we started a new project at work which included a couple of domestic flights. Naturally, I was over the moon because I love any form of flying, except sky diving. That’s a solid no from me. It was only then that I realised how little domestic flights I have under my belt! Apparently South Africa is just a very “driveable” country!

With a few domestic flights coming up it got me thinking! We all pretend to know everything about anything but secretly only a few of us really do! I know all the requirements for an international flight. What time to be there, what’s going to get you kicked off the plane or what airline has the best (ish) food! Domestic flights on the other hand, I shamefully had to google a few things just to make 100% sure!

I know there are others, whether you are going to publicly admit it or not! Luckily, you are not alone and I have been taking ample notes! So if it’s your first flight coming up or just your first flight since the spice girls were a thing, I’ve got you covered!

  • Do pack light

You are allowed 7KG’s as hand luggage plus a laptop bag! This is more than enough for a weekend getaway, a trip home or a mini beach break! You don’t have to stress about checking in a bag and you can head straight for the exit when you arrive. Many domestic airlines are low cost because of this and you will need to pay extra for check-in luggage.

George international that is smaller than most malls

  • Do check-in online

You can do this 24 hours before your flight! You will normally be notified by the airline (Kulula send an SMS). What exactly is the point of online check-in you ask?? This just means that you can arrive at the airport, go straight to any self-service machine, print your boarding pass and go through to your boarding gate. AKA eliminating unnecessary queues that no one needs in their life!


  • Do pack liquids

They not nearly as strict as international flights. We flew to Durban for the weekend and the only thing I packed (hand luggage) was toothpaste, as it was the only liquid I had under 100ml! Our accommodation had soap at least, but I now appreciate shampoo and face cream so much more! There are restrictions don’t get me wrong but you wouldn’t be the first person to get liquids over 100ml on a domestic flight. I am definitely not promoting you take all the liquids you own but if you need shampoo, take shampoo!


  • Do book your trip all together

Normally the airlines have some buddies such as car rentals or accommodation! If you book a flight and use your reference when booking a car or accommodation you will often get around 20% discount!


  • Do anticipate flight delays

As airlines have a small window to turn planes around they have a bigger window for delays! One small problem and the flight will be delayed. Try not to plan any life changing events around domestic flights and you will be ok.


  • Don’t expect food on the plane

Your flight is usually no more than 2.5 hours so you can generally survive it without a snack. The only domestic airlines that will give you food is South African Airways (SAA) and it’s only free because you had to sell your kidney to afford a flight with them! All airlines have cool drink, adult beverages and some over-priced snacks they come around selling (cash only). Word on the street is that Kulula will be offering card payments soon. Don’t be shy to bring along your own snacks.


  • Don’t expect your phone to work during a domestic flight

South Africa is pretty connected but when you’re flying at 39000 feet not much else besides the plane is going to work up there. Your phone will work until just after your flight has taken off. Mango is the only domestic airline promoting in-flight WiFi. The catch is that out of the 8 Boeing aircraft’s they have only 6 have WiFi. They can’t guarantee you will be on the flight that has WiFi. You are also required to buy vouchers beforehand. My trick is that I make sure I have a few pages such as my blog loaded already so that I can type away and then save when we land. Then again it’s barely a 2 hour flight you will survive without your phone.

Airlink flight to Upington

  • Don’t underestimate domestic flights

The first flight I took for work I was over prepared. I arrived extra early, checked-in online and made enough photo copies to make an environmentalist cry. I soon realised this was all unnecessary. The next flight I didn’t have a care in the world! We just made it to check-in, I couldn’t even check-in my big bag as it was too late. We had to jump the security queues and sprint to the boarding gate where they were only waiting for us. You know you’re late when they dedicate a last boarding call specifically at you. Out of all the flights involved in our project at least 5 were missed because people were late. Things go much quicker with domestic flights as turnaround time is crucial. Flysafair wasn’t voted the most on time domestic airline in the world for nothing!


  • Don’t forget your I.D/Driver’s license

You won’t need a passport for domestic flights. I appreciate a stamp in my passport as much as the next person but as you not leaving the country it’s not necessary. What you will need is proof of identification such as your I.D or driver’s license. Even if you check-in online you will need it. You will use it all the way through to boarding the plane, so keep it in a handy place.

Badly taken photo before boarding a Kulula flight to Durban

South African domestic airlines

Kulula airlines If you love jokes, fun and a quirky airlines then Kulula is the airline for you.
Mango airlines Way more than just an airline. They do car rentals and travel insurance. Turning miles into smiles since 2006.
Flysafair I can guarantee you there will always be a ridiculous special around the corner. Flysafair take low cost to the next level.
South African airlines If you have no time for budgets and enjoy free snacks on the plane, fly SAA.
Airlink When you want to fly to lesser known airports such as Upington. You and the 7 other people on the flight will fly Airlink.
SAexpress A little too close to bankruptcy for comfort. They mean well but are currently a flight risk (no pun intended). 



The TravelBug 🙂

11 thoughts on “Domestic flights for dummies!

  1. Nthabiseng Brenda Salemane

    😂😂😂😂😂 This was a GREAT read !!!! I didn’t know there was a liquid limit ? I fly with FLYSAFAIR 24/7 , 365 they don’t have wifi on the plane so I’m stuck in those 2 hour flights with my butt hurting and someone sitting next to me trying to get a view of the clouds ( I always check in online to get a window seat) – I wonder why they didn’t book a window seat as well.

    I think the food they serve is okay in terms of price, but if you’re too cautious with your spending then you can always grab a bite at the restaurants at the airport.

    I love the joke you made about airline, I actually haven’t heard of them until I read this article 😂😂

    Checking in online is a definite life saver as you said it saves time AND you get to choose a seat of your choice without being limited

    Thank you 🌻🌼

  2. Anne Yedlin

    These are all great tips. I bookmarked your post so that I can look it over the next time I have to fly! We always took a few snacks in our bags because the peanuts they offer ….just don’t cut it lol Checking in online before you arrive is a must.

  3. sarah

    Being from the US, the majority of flights people take are domestic so many people have no idea about International flights or what’s required. I moved out of the US and it was a whole different world – needing a passport everytime I travel, needing to use my full name (4 names!) exactly as on my passport, not just my first and last name as on my US driver’s license. It’s for sure a learning curve if it’s something you’re not used to.


  4. Dean

    I love this post!!! Super informative but I didn’t need to be wearing a suit to read it. These really are top tips and any is a must read for any first time domestic flyers!

  5. Dodie Trantham

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

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