From the world’s tallest indoor waterfall to the fastest growing city in Africa, here are some of the best destinations for an airline stopover…
Many airlines offer stopover packages that can be pre-booked with your flight. These provide excellent value for money and include a choice of hotel accommodation, transfers, city tours and discounted sightseeing.
Arrive for your holiday in style and enjoy a two-for-one holiday with these stopover destinations.
Singapore Airlines recently upped its Johannesburg frequency, adding three evening flights on the route. Travellers can choose from 10 flights a week to this Southeast Asian island destination, departing from either Joburg or Cape Town.
Singapore is worth visiting — even if you don’t plan on leaving the airport!
Jewel Changi Airport is an entertainment, retail and multifunctional complex on the landside of Changi Airport. The development was reported to cost a cool US$1.25 billion and spared no flight of the imagination.
The jewel in Jewel Changi’s crown is its 40-metre-high Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
Head out of the airport though to explore the futuristic, multicultural diversity of the exotic city-state where modern marvels meet age-old tradition.
“Consider Singapore Airlines for your next trip and ask a travel expert about the stopover holiday programme,” says Sue Garrett, General Manager of Marketing and Product at the Flight Centre Travel Group. “This usually includes a one-night hotel stay, airport and hotel transfers, a free city tour, a transit voucher worth 20 Singapore dollars, and free Wi-Fi.”
Ah, Dubai. This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Emirates’ stopover programme in Dubai. It’s long been a favourite with South African travellers eager to break up their eight-hour plus flight to Europe with a stop in the Middle East.
A Dubai Stopover package with Emirates gives you a fascinating glimpse into the city and emirate. You can easily navigate your way through the world-class airport before heading out into the desert heat (don’t worry, everything is air-conditioned).
Shop until you drop in the mega malls, relax poolside at your hotel, go on a sightseeing tour, and prepare to be wowed at the many adventure parks. Ensure you have enough time to take in the view from the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.
Visitors can also take advantage of the My Emirates Pass, which allows you to redeem discounts and special benefits in over 500 locations across the UAE using your boarding pass.
Book your flight first, taking into account your stopover dates, and then book the stopover package. Inform your travel agent and they can arrange this for you.
The national carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways, boasts a rapidly expanding network and attractive fares.
The airline recently announced plans to expand its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), to increase the airport’s capacity to more than 53 million passengers annually by 2022.
A destination in itself, HIA was named the fourth-best airport in the world and the best airport in the Middle East at the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2019.
Outside of the airport, a jam-packed, 48-hour stopover in Doha awaits. Like many of its Middle Eastern neighbours, the city is incredibly family-friendly. Learn about the region’s rich heritage and culture at the Museum of Islamic Art, shop and dine in Souq Waqif, or hit the dunes on a desert safari.
Turkey has enjoyed a massive spike in popularity in the South African travel market. Flight Centre data showed that flight bookings to Turkey went up by 79% from 2019 to 2020.
Reasonable airfares, a far-reaching network and the allure of Istanbul beckons travellers to stopover and enjoy longer holidays.
Obtaining visas is also a breeze. Apply for the free e-visa online at least 48 hours before departure.
Turkish Airlines offer a stopover package to passengers with a layover of 6-24 hours. The complimentary ‘touristanbul’ service includes transfers, access to historical sights of interest as well as a sampling of Turkey’s famed cuisine.
Enjoy a smooth transfer from Istanbul International Airport to your hotel, drop your bags and head out to explore with a city pass. Cruise the Bosphorus, the divide between Asia and Europe, for a view of the city’s grand palaces and landmarks from the water.
The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace are must-do highlights. Browse the Grand Bazaar, strip down and relax in a traditional Turkish bath, and feast on kebabs, baklava and strong Turkish coffee.
Ethiopian Airlines’ attractive fares have resulted in an influx of rand-carrying passengers choosing to transit via Addis Ababa.
The airline is expanding its network and this year alone, announced flights to Athens (Greece), Houston (Texas), Marseille (France), several Chinese cities and more.
Ethiopian Airlines offers a free city sightseeing tour for passengers transiting six hours or longer in Addis Ababa and arriving before 8 am. There are also stopover packages to explore Addis Ababa, the fastest growing city in Africa.
Hop on a full-day city tour and experience a traditional coffee ceremony, and a visit to the National Museum. Or take a day trip to the Wonchi Crater Lake, the Debrelibanos Monastery and Jemma Valley, Debrezeit Crater Lakes, Gulelle Botanical Garden and more.
“Ask a Flight Centre travel expert for advice and recommendations when booking and considering a stopover,” adds Garrett.
By Jenna Berndt