What's the cheapest way to fly from London to Malawi?
Malawi as a holiday destination can be pretty cheap once you're there, but what airlines fly to Malawi from London, what's the cheapest way to get there, and what do you trade off with a cheap flight?
Which airlines fly has been a bone of contention for some time as there used to be direct flights to Malawi with British Airways, which were brilliant. However these flights were stopped around 2000, for reasons unknown. I presume it was uneconomical for them to fly and once the profit margin falters on those long haul flights they get descheduled pretty quickly.
So who actually flies to Malawi from London?
At time of writing, the following airlines are offering a route to Malawi:
- Air France
- South African Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Ethiopian Airlines
What routes do these airlines take to Malawi from London?
The Air France route to Malawi is part operated by Kenya Airways, and they fly: London Heathrow > Paris > Nairobi > Lilongwe (Malawi capital in the central region of Malawi)
The KLM route from London to Lilongwe is also part operated by Kenya Airways but their route is: London Heathrow > Amsterdam > Nairobi > Lilongwe
South African airlines offers a longer route which goes: London Heathrow > Johannesburg > Lilongwe
Virgin Atlantic fly (in partnership with South African): London Heathrow > Johannesburg > Lilongwe
Finally, Ethiopian Airlines operates a route to Malawi via its hub in Ethiopia, and its route is: London Heathrow > Addis Ababa > Lusaka or Lubumbashi (refuel) > Lilongwe
That's all great, but how long do they take to get there, and get back?!
LHR - LLW LLW - LHR
Air France c. 12 hrs c. 15 hrs
KLM c. 12 hrs c. 15 hrs
South African c. 15 hrs c. 18 hrs
Ethiopian c. 14 hrs c. 20 hrs
Virgin Atlantic c. 14hrs c. 15hrs
So, which airline is the cheapest to travel to Malawi?
Without a doubt, the cheapest airline to fly with is Ethiopian Airlines. They are consistently the lowest cost over the course of the year, and their top prices are not that much higher than their value fares. You can expect to pay between £490 - £700 for a flight
The other airlines - KLM/Air France/South African depend on when you book and when you travel, but cost around £600 - £900.
The most expensive is Virgin Atlantic - a flight with them will cost around £1000+
Finally, which is the best airline to fly with?
Well, in this humble blog author's opinion, South African is the best for experience, it's comfortable and the air crew are friendly and experienced (especially if linked with a Virgin Atlantic flight!).
KLM/Air France and good for speed of journey, they get you there quickest, but part of the flight is operated by Kenya Airways, which can be hit and miss, and Nairobi Airport is chaotic. Ethiopian really fits the mantra that you get what you pay for in a flight, expect chickens in the aisle, toilet lights that don't work and films that are too long for the flight. However it is cheap and you get 46kg baggage allowance - double what the other airlines offer, so plenty of room to bring back oodles of African carvings...if you're happy to sit on a flight for 20 hours!