JNB to ATL flight time

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Dec 28th, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #1
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JNB to ATL flight time

my wife and i will be working in SA for a few weeks in march and on our outbound flight from the US we will have a 2 day layover in London, the on to JNB. Anyway, i was looking at the non stop flight time from JNB to ATL and I think that it says 18 hours!!!!!!!!! is that right????? we just got back from BKK and i almost died on that 14 hour flight so if i have to go another 4 hours i might just go crazy!!!!!! so if it is 18 hours whats the best thing to do to make it back hame sane? i really want to take an Ambien, but not sure if that will help because i can NEVER sleep on the plane! my wife slept alomst the whole 14 hrs coming home from BKK and i just stared at her anyway thnks for your help! Jeffrey
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Dec 28th, 2004, 10:57 PM
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Hi Jeffrey, Yes, 18 hours it is unfortunately. My husband and I have done it quite a few times, including with a 10 month old...not something you want to do on a regular basis. The flight does make 1 stop for about an hour to refuel at Ilha do Sal, but you aren't allowed off the plane. I think the only way to survive it is to plan on watching a lot of movies or change your routing to return home via Europe, the way you came, and spend a day or 2 there before flying back. Good luck! Kristin
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Dec 29th, 2004, 03:22 AM
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It's not only up to 18 1/2 hours, it is in the tiniest seats you have ever seen. SAA is the airline that flies this route and according to airline reports it is the worst in crowding the most seats into this aircraft that they can legally get by with. The seats are unbelievable small. It is barely large enough for an average person and you cannot set anything at all with you on the seat (like the headset or blanket). The armrests hold the control for the small TV you use so your arms aren't even comfortable and there is a metal box on the floor under the seat ahead of you that holds the works for the TVs. It takes up one half of your foot space. You almost have to turn sideways to walk down the aisle and the plane is jammed worse than you can imagine. Upgrade if at all possible to business class or go the Europe route on British Airways.
I still remember the nightmare, because I flew it last April after falling and rupturing a disc on safari and it was pure torture. Another poster here said she ruptured a disc on the flight because of the cramped conditions. Liz
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Dec 29th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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How FUN! We are coming home on SAA so that is the wonderful plane we will be on! The only positive right now about it is that my wife and I have the 2 seats in teh 2 4 2 configuration, I am 6'3" and my wife is only 5' so maybe I can take up some of her seat also! Thanks for helping me prepare for this! Is it a possibility to get upgraded to business? our contractor booked these tickets for us and ofc would only pay for coach!
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Dec 29th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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I very frequently make international trips, and the days of free upgrades, at least in my experience, are history. On domestic flights, a premium level frequent flyer will often be upgraded, but that's not the case on international legs. The only way I have been upgraded on an international trip was by paying for an upgrade (LOT permits this, for example), or you can use frequent flyer miles if you have purchased an upgradable fare and have the miles.

Take an ambien or other sleeping pill.

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Dec 29th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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The folks in the two seats on either side looked more comfortable than the center ones. Its that coming home trip the airline fills the plane with what I would guess is nonpaying passengers from the country of South Africa. We had a group of musicians who traveled to do good will type of presentations it sounded like. For some reason I always thought it was a space available type of thing since they are loaded last and take all the open seats. Some of the larger people tried to stand in the galleys during the flight but they kept getting chased back to their seats. Just be prepared. The airline will under NO circumstances let coach passengers sit in BC.
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 11:41 PM
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I can answer you very definitely on this issue as I did this flight recently - just in the opposite direction. What really makes it long is that you have in fact two stops between Atlanta and Johannesburg. The one at Sol Island (already mentioned) but the flight in fact goes to Cape Town first. If you plan on doping up just remember that you will be woken up for landings and take off at each stop.
On the comfort issue - economy class is a nightmare plain and simple. We traded in frequent flyer miles for an upgrade at the gate to business class, which was fantastic and I think the only reason we were not toast for weeks after getting back.
If that is not possible then get yourself preseated at a bulkhead or emergency row right now! SAA have the seating configurations with rows and seat numbers on their website for reference (flysaa.com).
Generally business class is not full, and there are usually passengers on standby for economy. So, my experience has been that if you are prepared to "pay-in" or use miles to upgrade at the gate then SAA will accommodate you if possible as they can then fill your seat in economy with another paying passenger more easily than getting someone to fork out for a business class fare.
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Jan 4th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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From an upgrade perspective I was automatically upgraded to first class on an international Continental flight recently and only have the lowest level of silver elite status with Northwest (a partner with Continental). The upgrade was free, on both flights (coming and going) and sadly declined by me since my husband wasn't able to upgrade (we'd used FF miles for his ticket). At least the flight was short.

I wouldn't count on an upgrade, but it can never hurt to ask unless of course you use FF miles, in which case there's zero chance for an upgrade even if you're the only person on the plane
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Jan 6th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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Traci, I think the flight stops in Cape Town only on certain days of the week, not every day.

But no matter, it's a terrible long time in an uncomfortable state. When I get rich, I'm going first class, through Europe with a couple of days of layover. Till then, though, I'm relying on Ambien.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 10:14 PM
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SAA has announced that from 1 February they will no longer be flying directly to Cape Town from Atlanta. (Currently three daysw a week.) They are instead increasing their Paris and Frankfurt flights. See http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fS...ticleId=236434.

On the subject of comfort, there have been news reports that SAA has "listened to its customers" and will be taking out some seats in economy class to increase leg room. I can't recall when this will be implemented.
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Jan 12th, 2005, 07:27 PM
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I just looked at our tickest and it says one stop on the flight from jnb to atl, so i guess that is only to stop for fuel correct? the more i read about this flight the more i dread it! I hope to God this Ambien works!
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Jan 12th, 2005, 09:38 PM
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Yup it's a fuelling stop but you may also find some passengers disembarking and others boarding. We went from JNB to JFK via Dakar and there were quite a few passenger "changes". However, if the stop is at Sol then this is likely to be a lot less.
You won't be allowed off the aircraft - not that you would want to - and be prepared for a very thorough security inspection of the cabin while you are still on the ground. You will need to identify your carry on luggage and every empty seat will be just about taken apart.
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Jan 13th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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We flew from Johannesburg to Atlanta in October 2004. We had also heard the horror stories about the 18 hour flight, the cramped seats etc,. and were really dreading the flight. Perhaps that’s why we were pleasantly surprised! The seats were wider than we expected (we are both short, but I am far from petite!), and there was more legroom than on any other plane I have recently flown on.

It looked as if every second row at the window (and probably in the middle too), had the ‘entertainment box’ under the seat, but there was adequate space for one’s legs next to the box. At Il de Sol they did not search the plane (although they said they would), so we actually dozed while the plane was refuelling. Nobody got off or on the plane. We arrived in Atlanta not feeling too tired, which was good, because we then still had a few more flights (Dallas - Mexico City-Oaxaca) until we finally arrived in Oaxaca, after missing the flight in Mexico City and having to spend an extra 3 hours at the airport waiting for the next flight (and not knowing the Spanish word for ‘beer’ and ending up having to drink water, but that’s another story!)

Going home we flew from New York, a direct 14 hour flight. Again it was a pleasure, the time passed so quickly that I could only watch 1½ of the 4 movies that I wanted to watch.

We usually fly with Emirates, and their service and comfort levels are excellent, but based on our experiences, I would rate SAA almost as high.

I also heard the rumour that SAA are going to change the seat configuration after complaints from customers, maybe they had already done it and our plane was one of the ‘new’ ones?!
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