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Washington DC to Johannesburg, stopover in Dakar, what's it like?

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Mar 16th, 2012, 09:42 AM
  #1
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Washington DC to Johannesburg, stopover in Dakar, what's it like?

A very good fare has popped up on United, but it puts you in Dakar for an hour. What do they do with you in this hour? Is there time to have a little walk and snack, or is the hour consumed by getting off the plane, going through some sort of immigration, then getting right back on the plane? Do you just sit on the plane while it refuels? I do rather like the idea of breaking up this 17 hour flight into two chunks.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 10:20 AM
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Unless your final destination is Dakar, you stay on the plane.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Oh. Ick. Thanks for your reply.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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I have flown this route MANY times. Unless you have a ticket ending in Dakar you are not allowed off. But, you are forced to get out of your seat and remove luggage from the overhead. They spray the plane with a mystery chemical.

The flight is actually operated by South African Airways which partners with South African in the Star Alliance.

With the new DOT law, you can buy a ticket on day 1 and void it by close of business on day 2. This gives you enough time to buy a ticket, work with an efficient safari outfitter, and get an itinerary on hold by the next day before your ticket becomes non-refundable.

Pay attention to the mileage earned on these discount fares. Sometimes it is only 50%.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Mar 16th, 2012, 12:34 PM
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I've also taken that flight several times. Although the plane makes that stop, which in my experience lasted anywhere from 1 to 2 hrs, I much prefer it to going via Europe and having to change planes. I actually prefer going DC to JFK with United around 8 am and then catching the SAA nonstop to JNB which leaves around 11 am. This flight gets you into JNB in the vicinity of 8 a.m. the next day. If you wanted to get over jet lag you could relax in Jo'burg or if you wanted to head off either to Cape Town or your safari lodgings, you have a full day ahead of you.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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What kind of deal? I just booked this flight 2 days ago. Not looking forward to 17 hours in a plane but oh well, I'll be in Africa after!
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Mar 16th, 2012, 02:22 PM
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We are actually flying from LAX, it shows $1373 LAX to JNB, which is a WHOLE lot better than what I've been seeing lately. Already have our reservations made in Kruger & Simbavati & Sabi Sands in October, so now I'm just watching for airfare.

On our first morning in SA we'll take a short flight to Nelspruit, then get the rental car & go to Kruger. I am thinking about fatigue, I like the fact that the 17 hour flight gets us to JNB in the afternoon so we can sleep in a hotel, we did this last time and it was OK, although the 17 hours on the plane was Miserable. Many of the routings I see have us on an overnight LAX to the E. coast, or even Europe, then another overnight to JNB, arriving in the morning. I think this would be way too tiring.

I am strongly considering going LAX to Heathrow on Virgin, getting there at noon, spending the night in Windsor then taking the evening flight the next day to JNB that arrives in the morning. Then, at least we'd have a night in a hotel and not just two consecutive nights on a plane. The flight home lays over at Heathrow for 4 hours, but at least we'll just be going home. We can't sleep on planes! Strongly considering drugs this trip...
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Mar 16th, 2012, 03:07 PM
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$1373 LAX-JNB, sounds like a bargain to me, I also fly out of LAX. You sure there's not some fuel surcharge to be added on to that???

I also like spending first night in JNB hotel. Sure its only 17 hours last flight but you are not counting in time from when you leave your home until arriving JNB hotel. That's more like 28-30 hours!!! And 9 hour time change!! After that I need to simply collapse for several hours. (Envy those Europeans like pixelpower who take one little flight down and no time change!!!) In fact, after this May my 8th safari, it may be my last. At 70yrs young I'm dreading more and more the rigors of long travel not to mention the medical vulnerability coming with years. Catching cruises out of LA/Long Beach harbor is sounding better and better .

regards - tom
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Mar 16th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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1373$ is a pretty good deal! Earlier this week, I paid 1600$ to fly from Ottawa to Johannesburg (via Washington DC) and then from Cape Town to Ottawa (via NYC, I actually stopover for 2 days). The flight is also on United/South African Airways. The last time I went to South Africa, I had to drive 2 hours to Montreal, fly 7 hours to Amsterdam, spend a few hours at the airport and then fly another 12 hours to Johannesburg. It was way too long for me. Hopefully, this trip will go a little bit faster despite the 17 hours in one place. Yikes!!!
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Mar 16th, 2012, 05:02 PM
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Yes, make sure that fare includes taxes and fees!
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Mar 16th, 2012, 05:09 PM
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Last time we flew to SA, we went British Air Dulles (DC) to London, and I used Marriott points for a posh hotel so we had a good rest and a nice time in London before the second overnight flight to Cape Town. This time we are flying from RDU to ATL to JNB, have a recuperative night with transfers from/to the airport before we fly to Vic Falls and then safari in Zim. Since we are now retired and I no longer have all those points to splurge, I think it will be just as good (if not better).

Glad I booked our Oct flights in Jan. as prices have gone up 50% since....but they were comparable to what we paid to fly to Rome last fall, so I'm happy. From the Left coast, your quote sound s pretty good...only about $200 less than what we've paid.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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Ooops, I meant $200 more than what ours were ($1100pp)
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Mar 16th, 2012, 07:27 PM
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Well, I'm fairly sure it did include taxes & fees, but now on the United site it pops up $1464. Including all the fees. I hate these airfare games. Still pretty good, we'll have to think about this.

How I wish it was as simple to fly from California to SA as it is to go to Hawaii! We'd go every year to Kruger, instead we go to Hawaii every year, some people would give their right arm to do that.

Tom, I feel your pain...

Just a couple of weeks ago my Virgin flights thru Heathrow with the overnight were about $1500, I wish I'd bought them. Fingers crossed...
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Mar 16th, 2012, 08:42 PM
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Why don't you just take Delta nonstop/B777 out of Atlanta to Johannesburg? I have been to Dakar and it is gross-lots of mosquitoes,humidity and a waste of valuable sleep waiting on the tarmac in the middle of the night.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 08:52 PM
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Agree with Dutyfree. I was recently on Deltas flight ( other way) from JNB to ATL and it was excellent.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 02:40 AM
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I agree I'd rather fly Atlanta to JB straight through - who wants to stop for 1-2 hrs on the ground when you can't even get off the plane... and be sprayed with carcinogenic chemicals besides! My flight from Atlanta to JB a few months ago was around $1500 which I thought was pretty good.
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Mar 18th, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Flying Nairobi to NYC on BA we overnighted at Heathrow at the Meridien. Just loved it. Came home rested which was good since bad food from StoneTown caught up with me at home. Yes, I know it was from StoneTown since my daughter who flew home earlier on different routing came down same GI problem and we were the only two who ate the same chicken our last night. If we had flown home straight thru I would have been even more miserable.
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Mar 18th, 2012, 12:08 PM
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I have never over nighted in LHR, perhaps I should give it a try someday.

FWIW, when I'm with Carolyn, I try and never eat same food as she does. So only one of us has a problem. Has happened twice, but not in Africa, in Europe.

regards - tom
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Mar 18th, 2012, 05:45 PM
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Thank you friends on Fodors! You got me thinking about our trip in October -- and today I went to seatguru to check out the economy seats I'd reserved on Delta's ATL to JNB, which were aisle seats across from each other as I thought it was the best I could get. However it appeared that I could upgrade to economy comfort for $160ea, which moved us up about 10 rows and gave us power at our seats to recharge iPad/iPod/Kindle, plus 4 more inches of leg room and an better recline than in standard coach so I grabbed it. Woo Hoo! I only did it for the flight to Africa, as to be honest, coming home doesn't bug me as much. We're still 198 days from departure, but sometimes it pays to be the earlybird!

---Expedia emailed me that they couldn't confirm my seat change -- so I went back to the Delta site and noticed there was a phone number if I had a problem. I called them, and -- this is something new -- the system said as it would be a 9 min wait, they would call me back. They did, I talked to a real person in customer service, and they confirmed the seat changes went through. I think Delta has really got my business from now on. This is cool!
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Mar 19th, 2012, 08:23 AM
  #20
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Interesting!

When we went last time, we were on Delta, LA to Atlanta then that nonstop to JNB. They treated us very well, but that 17 hours just seemed so endless. The price for that isn't looking very good right now, which is why I'm looking at other options. In 2009 we paid about $1200 a ticket, LAX-ATL-JNB!
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