Philadelphia to Johannesburg on BA

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Sep 28th, 2004, 07:22 AM
  #1
kg
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Philadelphia to Johannesburg on BA

Hi, I'm flying to Johnnesburg from Philadelphia on British Airways, with an 8 hour layover at London Heathrow.
Has anyone flown this route before???
I'm trying to determine if my bags will get checked all the way through to JNB when I check in at Philly. I've tried the BA website, and have also tried contacting the Customer Service for the airline, but can't get a straight answer.
I'd like to walk around London while I'm there, and don't want to leave my backpack in "Left Luggage"-- I have heard it is not very organized or secure...
kg is offline  
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Sep 28th, 2004, 07:40 AM
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I've flown BA from SF thru London to Joburg several times, with the long Heathrow layover. On two trips that were just those 3 cities, the bags were definitely checked through to Joburg, and all arrived just fine. Definitely check through...its a hassle to reclaim and recheck in London. Avoid it! Of course, take your camera & key essentials in a carryon. Unless you are in Bus Class, the weight restriction is severe, so carry your camera with its biggest lense separately (as allowed by BA) and not in your carryon bag. Put heavy stuff (like extra camera batteries or whatever) in pockets, if need be...

The only time my bags went missing for a day, was on one trip where I had to fly SFO-London-Capetown-Joburg (the only routing where I could use FF miles). Capetown didn't connect my bags immediately to Joburg, and it took several phone calls but my bags did arrive at the Joburg airport the next morning in time for my flight to Botswana. (By the way...for this reason and any other schedule/cancellation/delay glitches, I strongly, strongly, strongly urge an overnight in Joburg before heading off on safari!!!)

I've used left luggage several times at Heathrow, and I have found them to be efficient and they look secure enough. I wouldn't leave real valuables (camera stuff) with them, but I leave everything else. You can lock your bag with small luggage locks (ADVISABLE!!!) for flights once you leave the US, too. For checked bags, you'll have to get those hardware-type plastic ties or (Better) the numbered plastic ones from Travelsmith or Magellans or a travel shop). I'd advise using those even if you are using a TSA approved lock. )

Anyway, if you are flying Business, you can leave your bags at the Bus Class BA lounge, which is very secure. But be careful about how much time you actually have in London. You want to get back to the airport 2 hours before flight time, its pretty much an hour in/out from Heathrow, and you will have to clear customs and immigration both ways--add an extra hour for that. The lines to do this can be quite long, both ways. So you only have 3 hours MAXIMUM that you can spend in London...personally, I'd do this on the way back from Africa, but just to be safe and rested, I'd stay at Heathrow and relax on your trip to Joburg. (There's actually lots to do there...it's like a shopping mall, with decent restaurant options, even a place you can arrange a shower and a nap (for a fee_.

Have a great trip....
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Sep 28th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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I will have a similarly long layover in Frankfurt. Anyone has experience on what to do either at the airport or in the city?
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Sep 28th, 2004, 03:22 PM
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When we booked our BA flights in May, we opted to take a stay-over in London (obviously that meant taking our luggage with us). I had some Marriott points to spend and it worked out BRILLIANTLY. The next night we flew on to Capetown. Two long flights back-to-back are a real drag. While we were still tired when we got to SA, at least we were in the same general "time frame," and our jet lag was pretty much a non-problem.
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Oct 6th, 2004, 05:25 PM
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We exercised another option recently, and took a "daylet" at the Raddisson Edwardian just outside the airport access road at Heathrow. Check in after 9:00am, check out by 6:00pm. 59 pounds. Well worth it between two back to back overnight flights.
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Oct 6th, 2004, 08:49 PM
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In Frankfurt you can go downtown and see, in close proximity to each other, Goethe's house, the Roemer (City Hall), the Kaiserdom (Cathedral), and Saint-Paul's church.

You can take a shower at Frankfurt Airport, in the departure area of Terminal 1. It costs 6 euros.

I didn't shower at Frankfurt Airport, because I spent a night in Frankfurt, but I did once take a shower at Heathrow. It was a very nice, inexpensive shower facility, and it made a world of difference to how I felt.

I also have taken a shower at Auckland Airport, en route to Australia.

Taking a shower part way through a long journey REALLY helps (although having an overnight stop or even having a "daylet" is nice too of course).
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Oct 13th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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We just recently flew to JNB from New York and had a lengthy layover in London. We checked out bags through, no problem.

In London, we had massages and haircuts at the newish Mandarin Oriental Spa (three hours and we were new men!) and then had a nice, long, late lunch with some Londoner friends.

By the time lunch was over, it was just time to head back to airport and make our way through security and onto our flight with no hurry and fullly refreshed.
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