Flights to SA, long layover or long flight?

Jul 16th, 2007, 06:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Holy moly, Dennis! That's one wild itinerary you've got there! (I have to say that flying for 435 minutes and then having a 12-hour layover might drive me around the bend.....but with your sense of humor, you'll no doubt be fine.)

12 hours in Honolulu gives you enough time to get over to Leonard's for a nice warm malasada. (Or masalada?)
cooncat3 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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...Make that 45 minutes...
cooncat3 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 06:43 PM
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Hi Dennis,

I did the Dubai-JNB flight last month. If you are taking the AM flight (10 30AM) out of Dubai, then you get into JNB around 4PM or thereabouts....please be prepared to wait, as 3 or 4 flights just arrive prior to this one and there seem to be very few immigration officers on duty. Maybe you will have better luck!

Out of JNB, very convenient 7PM flight....

HariS is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 07:55 PM
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Sharon-yes malasadas is correct. think they'll be closed when I get in though.
Hari- yes it's the 4:15 arrival but staying at Southern Sun @ JNB so don't have far to go. Then midmorning flight up to Kruger.
matnikstym is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 10:39 PM
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All I can say is Thank God we had enough mileage for our first/business class on our Seattle to JNB flight on Delta.
I am not sure I have spent this much concentrated time, alone, with my husband, since our honeymoon, 38 years ago. May be the end of our marriage as he is not a great traveler. He flies a lot for business and getting back on a plane is not his idea of fun.
Doesn't going through London or other city and staying over a day or two add a lot of cost on to the trip? I found London to be very expensive for even a day trip.
julienk is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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From the US, I strongly prefer to stop in Europe for a day or two on the way over. That gives me enough time to get over any jet lag, and there's no jet lag when going from Europe to southern Africa (same time zone or 1 hr difference). I'm lucky enough to usually be traveling on a fare that allows a stopover -- doing so helps me to maximize the pleasure of my time in Africa.

I also try to avoid LHR because of the carry-on limitations. Traveling on OneWorld last year, I stayed in Amsterdam for 2 days on the way over and connected through MAD to get to JNB and then Botswana. I did go through LHR on the way back, having to check the bag that I'd carried on through MAD, but I was less concerned about my clothes getting lost on the way back. (The irreplaceable stuff -- photos, etc -- stayed with me the whole trip.)

For my trips this year and next, I switched to Star Alliance, precisely to avoid going through London on the way to/from Africa.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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Elena, I would also consider time of year and start/connection locations. For example, I'm going in January - leaving from Milwaukee, connecting in Detroit, then a 32-hour layover in Paris. I put the extra day in to cover, just in case of a missed connection or severe weather delay.

If that is a potential concern, the non-stop might be the better option - long as it may be. The fewer birds, the fewer opps for delays, etc.
going_2_africa is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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I just did the ATL-JNB direct flight, and it was fine. A little long, but in the end you have more time for safari. As others said, I'd book with the layover only if you take advantage of the layover and spend some time in the layover city. Two 10 hour flights plus 7-8 hours layover means 10 extra hours in each direction, which for me meant the ability to add an extra safari day.

You should also check the plane type/configuration for each flight, and if there is a difference then factor that into your decision. The configuration on the Delta ATL-JNB is 2/3/2 so if two of you are traveling together you can get the window and aisle seat with no one else next to you on either side.

I find I experience less jetlag on the longer flights because I actually have enough time to sleep properly rather than disturbing my sleep with a plane change and layover. If you take the ALT-JNB flight, board the plane, set your watch forward (it will be 10 pm in SA when you board), have dinner, watch the movie, then go to sleep. Since you're on PST, you'll probably need a sleeping pill, but you'll wake up on SA time ready to go.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 11:36 AM
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About how long do you estimate it'll take to get through immigration at that time of day? And then how long of a wait for bags? Thanks.
Patty is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:45 PM
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If I were on Dennis' itinerary they'd have to send me back in a coffin: I'd be dead.
We took a Delta code share on Air France from LAX to Paris last fall (in biz class on FF miles). I figured with my back problems I'd want the break, have a chance to walk around Paris for the day, get some exercise, see African art, eat well. WRONG!
We slept maybe 4 hours (on those slanted, not flat, seats)landed in the morning and took showers in the Air France lounge. Then onto an AF bus (said to be faster/easier than the train), but it seemed to take forever to central Paree. Finally got to the Metro and the Louvre. Closed on Tuesdays! (Duh, why didn't I check beforehand?) Walk to Angelina's for hot chocolate. Walk, walk, walk some more. Getting veeery tired. Now on the Left Bank headed to one of our favorite restaurants, Les Bookinistes, for early dinner. Turns out they only have 2 seatings now, and they were booked. Trudge around Left Bank. Getting sleepy. Feet hurt. Back on Metro to Champs Elysee area, where airport bus pickup is. Mediocre quick dinner at the only place in the area that looked decent. Now nighttime, back on bus to CDG for 11 p.m. (I think) flight to JNB. Fell asleep on bus, where I left my blow-up back pillow. Wait hours in 1st class AF lounge. Then board very creaky old 747 for red eye to JNB on seats that merely recline. So exhausted we slept 6 hours.
I 2nd the motion: NEVER AGAIN! Next time I'll tough it out on a direct flight, or do as we're doing in October. Taking Iberia air and staying in Madrid for 2 nights.

LAleslie is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 06:26 PM
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Hi Patty,

I don't know if i was really unlucky that day.....there was atleast a one hour wait at immigration. First of all, there were very few immigration officers at the terminal handling 3 or 4 incoming flights....there was no formal "line" for visitors or South African citizens....every one in every line...

Surprisingly, the bags came after 5 minutes after i got to the baggage carousel area after clearing immigration.

However, when i came back from Maun....i got through the whole thing in 5-10 minutes without a problem!

HariS is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:11 PM
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BLK, I'm flying SAA from IAD to JNB in August, and the flight is stopping to refuel.
hills27 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Good topic, one I am pondering for trip #2, as I have only done the SAA ATL-JNB direct (in coach) with no problems.
CarlaM is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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Thanks, Hari! I have almost 3 hours between flights, so even if it takes an hour to clear immigration, I should still be OK (I hope). And that's only if I can't get Comair to through check my bags onto AF which I'll try to do in WDH in order to avoid the whole immigration/recheck thing at JNB.

Does anyone know what Comair's interline policy is? Will they through check my luggage on separate tickets with Air France? I'm flying into JNB on Comair from WDH and taking AF to CDG from JNB. Thanks!
Patty is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 04:26 PM
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Go straight. Avoid London! Heathrow is such a hassle now with security and only 1 carry on rule no exceptions!! Thankfully my mother read a small sign before we headed out from JFK at our airline counter and we were prepared with room to stick our purses in our carry-on and with creative packing on our return from India. No one told us!! We usually brought back alot of souvenirs in bags as carry on b/c we were afraid of lost/stolen cheked luggage but London limited us. But Heathrow shopping is fab (Hello Gucci!) that's the nice part LOL!
SupraChica is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 10:48 PM
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We recently returned from this trip. We went LA Chicago, Chicago Frankfurt and Frankfurt Cape Town. Going we had about a 3-4 hour layover and it was perfect. I can't imagine spending 8 hours in the airport and that is not enough time to do anything outside except smell the fresh air.

On the return from JB we went through Heathrow. A friend had told us that you many only have one bag as carry on when going through Heathrow. That does not mean a purse and a bag, or a camera and a bag, one bag. So be aware of this if this becomes your route. What we did that worked is we gave ourselves 1 day in Cape Town to recover before starting our touring.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2007, 07:17 PM
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Take the Delta flite from ATL to JNB.
The cabin service is pretty good.
Pago is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 09:33 PM
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We are flying Seattle to San Francisco to London on our way to Johannesburg. We decided on a 2 1/2 day layover in London to get over the jet lag and just because we wanted to see London. I've also heard that London is expensive but we did a lot of checking online for hotels and found some good deals. Also, by booking early we were able to get a free room upgrade. This is our 21th Anniversary trip so we splurged. We're doing a straight through on the way home-JNB to Dakar to Washington DC to SEA. NOT looking forward to that! Maybe I'll ask my doctor about an Ambien presciption.
MarthaR is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2007, 11:27 PM
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Just to update, Comair did through check our bags from WDH to LAX, so I was able to avoid immigration and baggage claim/recheck at JNB which was a good thing because our flight from WDH was delayed.

This meant we only had to go to the transfer desk at JNB to pick up our AF boarding passes, go through security and even had time to have a drink in the AF lounge. One of our 3 bags is still missing but better than us missing our flight altogether!
Patty is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 06:53 AM
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DRUGS! Bring plenty and you won't care if you go non stop.

Can anyone advise on the difference between the SAA planes, KLM's and United to Johannesburg (coach of course)? I'll no longer take NW's international due to plane size.

It appears that SAA's are more spacious - true? DH and I usually opt for opposing aisle seats for more leg room. The problem is that I have a hard time sleeping due to fear of getting my feet/elbows or whatever protudes into the aisle chopped off by carts, extra wide people etc.

Any other seating suggestions other than upping seat class for more room?
cybor is offline  

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