ATL TO JNB on SAA

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Jan 27th, 2005, 07:19 PM
  #1
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ATL TO JNB on SAA

Thanks to everyone I have an awesome trip booked for July and now I need to book the airfare.
In researching this very long flight, folks have said to avoid the seats with the tv boxes underneath. Would anyone have any seat numbers to avoid?
There are two of us and we can still get the 2 seater sides (window and aisle) since we are booking early.
Unfortunately, I do not have enough miles to upgrade, so any other suggestions for coach would be great
Thank You
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Jan 27th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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If you are even halfway to your required miles, you may want to consider buying the remainder of your miles. I was short when needing 320,000 miles for (4) Business Class flights from London to Joburg, and I ended up buying about 20,000 miles for $600.

Technically, you can only buy 15,000 Delta Skymiles per year, but others may buy you miles as "gifts", as well.

Another consideration would be to fly to London and then fly London to JNB, a non-stop 10.5 hour flight. It requires 80,000 miles for business class, which I believe is 40,000 less than the flight from Atlanta. It is a much better deal, IMO, paying 80,000 miles for London-JNB than 120,000 miles for Atlanta-JNB.

Have a great time!
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Jan 28th, 2005, 03:38 AM
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Silivia-
The boxes are under the most ideal seats on the aircraft, naturally. The aisle seats all have them and they take up over one half of the space for your feet. It is a real discomfort to sit like that for 18 hours. Of course the middle seats are not what most people want either, so you just sit there and for goodness sake take Ambien or something to make you sleep.
Rocco is right on. When you're sitting there you wish to he** you had sprung for the extra miles and had more space. Sorry for the glum outlook but I think you wanted the truth. Liz
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Jan 28th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Roccco, your suggestion of using FF miles from London, rather than from the US, intrigues me. What airline is this on? Most of my FF miles are on American, but I'm acquiring some on a credit card that allows use on any airline. Can I do what you suggest, or do I need Delta Skymiles to do that?

Celia
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Jan 28th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Celia - you can do Roccco's suggestion, but to use your American miles you use British Airways instead of SAA. You'll need to call American to book it - you can't book FF awards on their partner from the AA website. Business Class for LHR to Africa is 75K miles.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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AA website says that you have to start in the US and use AA to Europe. Cannot start in Europe and go anywhere using AA miles on BA. I tried that. I asked AA if they would ever get the flat seats in Biz and they said not until the airline starts making money. They are cutting the value of their ff miles so much that it will be close to impossible to use them for these trips. I was able to get first class tickets in Jan. for March to NBO, but the dates I could get the reservation dictated the beginning and ending dates of my trip. Real hard to come by. Liz
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Jan 28th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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I believe you can't use AA ff miles to upgrade on BA from Europe (or maybe anywhere). I recently inquired and that was what I was told. Depends on the contracts each partner has with the other, regardless the particular ff program.

Oh, AAFrequent Flyer - where are you? You know all the AA stuff, probably in your sleep!

You might want to consider one of the Middle Eastern Airlines, like Emirates. Believe these are UA ff miles. You're routed thru Dubai, but that's a wonderful place to transfer and even stay a few days. 24/7 shopping, very western, great hotels.

Check out "flyertalk" website, and pose questions there. I've never, but many find the answers there.

 
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Jan 28th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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Liz - I've been looking at the AA website and can't find the info you've referred to. Seems like British Airways has a ton of rules - more than the other airlines. I can tell you however, that I have booked a flight using AA miles to go LHR/JNB/LHR. Don't know if I got in before a rule change though.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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Dreamin-
The website said that a couple of years ago when I was looking. Now it just doesn't have that on its new award chart. It probably changed when they brought the new chart into existence. It would be best to contact AA reservations and talk to them. I did that and they confirmed what the website said at that time.
Where your address is makes a difference as does your status, i.e., elite, gold, plat, etc. I'm none of that and live in U.S. and don't see on the award chart where I could use miles for what you are saying. It doesn't even give the award miles required for flights from Europe to Africa. Its blank. Just not a recognized award. Good luck. Liz
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Jan 28th, 2005, 06:55 PM
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Liz -

Well, this is a long URL! http://www.aa.com/content/AAdvantage...ne_chart.jhtml. This includes the Europe to Africa award miles requirements. My flight is already ticketed... With the frequency of rule changes and as you pointed out, residency and status, who really knows!

Celia - perhaps if you have an opportunity to call them to book your travel, you could update us on the latest ability to get a Europe to Africa award on BA using AA miles!
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Jan 28th, 2005, 08:27 PM
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I didn't notice you say that you just got your ticket, I thought that was some time ago.
That was the same chart I just looked at. I read it down first and then followed it across and saw Africa was blank. Doh!!!
I called AA and they said you always could use your miles however you wanted. Travel from anywhere to anywhere their partners fly. So I just don't know what I asked them to get what I recalled the answer was.
Since I travel from the Western U.S., I have two overnights and need the flat seats from here. From the east coast you could fly daytime on any ticket to Europe and then just use your miles for the Europe/Africa leg which would be the only overnight portion.
Since AA is doing away with "more leg room in coach", thats a long haul from here in coach. Too much for me. Liz
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Jan 29th, 2005, 02:48 PM
  #12
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Thank you Rocco and Liz - unfortunately I'm far away from the required miles on any airline (I blew a lot of miles for first class on a big trip last year).
And my traveling companion has even less miles than I do.
So the tv boxes are under every aisle seat?
I thought they were under every other window seat?
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Jan 29th, 2005, 03:17 PM
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The TV box question is one I had ample opportunity to ponder recently, as I was stuck with one under the seat in front of me on a recent SFO-LHR flight. It was a long twelve hours.

I looked around to see where the boxes were to avoid them on future flights, and they were under the centre aisle seat (not the aisle seat of the group near the window). So if you choose the aisle seat of the group near the window, you may be able to avoid them. Good luck -- they are a real pain on a long flight.
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Jan 29th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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Hi again-
I should have specified the seating on the flight I was on. It was SAA from JNB to ATL and I sat on the aisle in the center section of I believe 4 seats across. They were on both aisle seats. I didn't pay attention where they were on the two seats over by each window section. I sat on one aisle seat on this bank in the center section. Hadn't thought of them on any other flights like on BA or AA in coach when we flew over in 2003 to East Africa. I only remember them on SAA because they jammed so darn many seats in. Sorry for not explaining fully. Liz
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Jan 30th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Dreaming, Liz, and Sandi, thanks for the replies re FF miles. I believe that AA miles can be used on Iberian as well as BA for flights to Jo'burg. When I talked to an AA agent a month or two ago, she said we could go from the US through Europe to Jo'burg, using either BA and going through London, or Iberia and going through Madrid. At that point, I was looking at using FF miles for the whole trip, in coach class. But with this new idea of using miles on only part of the trip, I wouldn't mind going coach to Europe, and then business class from there, especially if I could spend a day or two in Europe getting over jet lag before flying on to Jo'burg.

At this point it's still theoretical for me. We haven't decided when our next trip to Africa will be, and we'll probably decide to take a week in the south of France before going back to Africa. Still, I'm always thinking about ways to minimize the outlay, in both money and discomfort, for getting there.
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Jan 30th, 2005, 09:22 PM
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You're obviously on SAA direct out of ATL ...
You will want seats 62A & 62C, these are at a bulkhead and so have no row in front with the pesky boxes underneath and also lots more legroom.
SAA have the seating configurations on their website (flysaa.com) so you can get a good idea of the lay of the land. Call SAA direct (the international number is on the site) to make sure that you are at a bulkhead or exit row. Warning - these seats go quickly!
You can also book online with SAA, we got a discount this way, and you can select your seats like a theatre or cinema.
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Jan 31st, 2005, 03:53 AM
  #17
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Thank you Traci - that's exactly what I was looking for!!!
The exit rows are blocked off/reserved for their Voyager memebers and I could not tell which were the bulk head seats.
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Jan 31st, 2005, 04:55 PM
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Silivia,

Last month I got our seat assignments on SAA from Atlanta to Johannesburg. The first person I talked to said she was not authorized to assign bulhkead seats - they were reserved for families with children. I called the next day and spoke with a gentlemen who had no problem assigning us the bulkhead seats (62A and C). So if you call and get a "no" try again!
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Jan 31st, 2005, 05:06 PM
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Kathy,

Did you get a free add-on flight to Victoria Falls? As part of your international frequent flier ticket with SAA, you should be entitled to one free regional flight.

Last year I was able to get from JNB - LUN for "free", also in Business Class as was my international flight, by way of my frequent flier ticket with SAA.

I realize that you may not be flying back from VFA, but at least that would get you there. Alternately, it may be cheaper to fly back to VFA from Botswana, thus having both legs of the r/t JNB-VFA flight, rathern than flying from Maun - JNB and paying for it.

This year, I will try to get a free flight from JNB-Lusaka and then from VFA-JNB, although I don't know if I can do it that way, as I may need to fly in and out of the same airport, and there is no way that I am going to try to get all the way back up to Lusaka, when I can fly from VFA to JNB instead.
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Jan 31st, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Rocco,

Our miles are actually with Delta - do you think that would impact the free rt air deal?
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