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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: JNB / Johannesburg Airport - Connections, Facilities, Layovers, etc.
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Guide to JNB (Oliver R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa)


Welcome to the guide to JNB.

If your have any further questions that have not been answered after reading through, please do not hesitate to ask.

Bear in mind that the minimum connection times given below are the shortest connections allowed for tickets on a single PNR. It would be advisable to leave more time than this, particularly if you are arriving during the busy morning period. If you are travelling on two separate PNRs, add on at least an extra hour to the MCTs to allow for whatever delays the Travel Gods may throw at you.

Do note that procedures can change so this guide may not be accurate. If you notice anything has changed or there are any errors, just let me know.


International-Domestic Connection

Minimum connection time: 90 minutes

Once you have deplaned, simply follow the crowd to the immigration hall.
After going through passport control, you will need to collect your luggage and pass through customs irrespective of whether your bags have been tagged through to your final destination.
Exit into the public area and proceed up to departures level by way of the escalators which are opposite and to the left. The escalator can take trolleys.
If your bags have already been tagged through to your destination and you have your boarding passes for the onward domestic flight, you can use fast bag drop.
Otherwise you will need to check-in as normal.
Alternatively, you can use the baggage re-check desks on the left before exiting to the public area.
If you would prefer to avoid the porters and taxi touts in the arrivals halls, there are escalators to the left of these desks which will take you to level 1. From there you will need to go up one more level to reach domestic departures.

The domestic terminal is designated as a separate terminal (Terminal B) but do not be confused by this. All the terminals at JNB are under one roof so you barely notice that you are transferring between them.


Domestic-International Connection

If you can interline baggage, you can check it through from your initial departure point to your international destination. Once you land at JNB walk out to exit (ignore signs to go downstairs to baggage reclaim), keep walking through the shops/past the food court, around the atrium and there is a security/emigration point on your front right.

Please see post #36 for an illustrated guide.
[although there is no need to go up the moving walkway and then back down again - just come out of the domestic exit and keep walking straight on that level, which will bring you to the security/emigration point]


International-International Connection

Minimum connection time: 60 minutes

This is where things become a little more tricky.

If you arrive at a jetway, you will see a corridor heading towards International Transfers on the left just before the escalators down to passport control.
If you arrive at a remote stand and are bussed to the terminal, you will see the escalators on the left heading up to International Transfers as you enter the building.
Both these paths are well signposted and there is usually a staff member shouting out "International transit" and waving a sign to direct passengers.
When you go down the corridor, there is a transit immigration point before the transfer desks. Typically the wait here is 1-3 minutes, very much quicker than 'normal' immigration.

If your bags have already been tagged through to your final destination, ensure that you give your connecting airline the tag numbers at this time so that they can verify them in their system.
If the tag numbers are not re-verified, they will not be loaded without manual intervention.

If your bags have not been tagged through, you will need to find a member of staff in International Transfers from your arriving airline.
Ask them to get one of their baggage services staff to pull your bags off the belt manually and coordinate with staff from your onward airline to retag them to your final destination.

This is a rather convoluted process and can take a long time.

Therefore, if your bags cannot be tagged all the way through, it is advisable to pass through immigration, collect your bags at baggage reclaim and clear customs.
After you clear customs but before you exit to the public area (the exit is a set of sliding doors on your right), you will see a series of baggage re-check desks on your left.
Proceed to these desks since they often have smaller queues and have your bags re-tagged.
Then head up the escalators to your left (do not exit the main doors into the public area) which emerge on the departures level.
Turn right when facing the Vodacom store and the departures security checkpoint is right in front of you.

You can do the entire transit and enter/exit South Africa in less than 5 minutes if your bags come out quickly.

If time permits, the safest option is to clear customs and re-check your bags as described above rather than rely on the interlining system at JNB.

Have a look at post #9 of this thread for pictures.

Originally posted by Ambassador BA304.

Luggage storage

This is taken from the whyjoburg.com web site (April 2016):

Quote:
BagPort South Africa, the original company that provided a luggage storage service at OR Tambo International Airport, has changed its name.

It now operates as Ateck - from the same premises down the escalators at the main exit of Terminal A arrivals, on Basement Level 1, going towards the Parkade 2 (South).

Costs are : (NB : CASH ONLY! No Cards Accepted.)
0-5 hours: R70.00
6-12 hours: R80.00
12-24 hours: R90.00
24 hours or more: R90.00 per day.

Open 24 hours, every day of the year.

Contact details :
Tel : +27 (0)11 390-2318
Ateck does not have a website at present
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Old Oct 25, 09, 3:46 pm   #1
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JNB / Johannesburg Airport - Connections, Facilities, Layovers, etc.

Hi,
I'm wondering, if I have a layover at JNB and am booked on a SAA flight am I required to clear customs just to make it to my next international flight?

For instance, if I wanted to travel from Botswana to Namibia via JNB on SAA would I need to get my passport stamped upon arrival at JNB?

I am going to be traveling quite a bit in Africa and would like to use JNB as a hub for many of my layovers, but I don't want to be taking up 2 pages each time I pass through.

I will not have any luggage.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Oct 25, 09, 4:17 pm   #2
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Welcome to Flyertalk, liamfm. I am moving your thread to the Africa Forum for discussion. (Travel & Dining>Destination: The World>Africa).
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Old Oct 26, 09, 8:11 am   #3
  
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I suspect you don't need to be stamped in and clear customs if you are in transit between two other countries (not sure though, so others might be able to advise). If you are travelling from Windhoek to JNB to CPT then you will need to clear customs in JNB and recheck your bags.

Unless you need a visa, the South African authorities will give you a half page sticker on arrival which allows you to come and go as you please. Then you get small square and round stamps on each entry and exit. You won't go through many pages, even if you do land.

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Old Oct 26, 09, 4:55 pm   #4
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Thank you.

Thanks for showing how this worked for you - that makes my job a lot easier.

We won't be stopping in JNB, just passing through, so chances of going through customs are 50/50 (until someone else chimes in), but I'm glad to see that if we do have to clear customs it won't take ANOTHER 2 pages.

Thanks again.
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Old Oct 27, 09, 8:18 am   #5
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liamfm View Post
Thanks for showing how this worked for you - that makes my job a lot easier.

We won't be stopping in JNB, just passing through, so chances of going through customs are 50/50 (until someone else chimes in), but I'm glad to see that if we do have to clear customs it won't take ANOTHER 2 pages.

Thanks again.
Please don't confuse CUSTOMS (where they check if you are bringing unauthorised goods into the country) and IMMIGRATION (where they check or stamp your passport / visa), although in this case the answer is that you will go to an International transit desk and straight back into the departures are and should not need to pass through either customs or immigration.
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Old Oct 30, 09, 8:07 pm   #6
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thijsseh View Post
Please don't confuse CUSTOMS (where they check if you are bringing unauthorised goods into the country) and IMMIGRATION (where they check or stamp your passport / visa), although in this case the answer is that you will go to an International transit desk and straight back into the departures are and should not need to pass through either customs or immigration.
Great point. Customs and Immigration are indeed different beasts though at JNB both are non issues best I can tell. I went through both yesterday with no issue at all (they do take your temperature now before allowing you to step up to the immigration desk btw). I have Russian colleagues arriving from London today transiting with no checked bags to a SAA flight to Lusaka. I'll note their journey and try to post back what their step by step journey is. I think it will be arrive, transit, check in for the future flight and head to the gate. No customs and no security. If that varies I'll report back.
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Old Oct 31, 09, 4:30 am   #7
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woody125 View Post
no security.
Last time I transited at JNB there was.

Johan
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Old Nov 11, 09, 1:51 pm   #8
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
Last time I transited at JNB there was.

Johan
Right you are:

When transiting, you...
Land
Go through immigration
Enter the transit area
Get boarding pass for your onward flight (if less than 3 hours before your flight)
Pass through security (though you don't need your onward boarding pass to get through)
Proceed to departure area

Very easy set up they have there. Made my first trip to Africa memorable for some very unexpected reasons (like sanity of movement).

Last edited by woody125; Nov 11, 09 at 6:03 pm
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Old Nov 11, 09, 3:26 pm   #9
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JNB is relatively easy for international transit, IIRC 60 minute minimum connection time. (I issued tickets yesterday that were 65 minutes and didn't have a problem.)
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Old Nov 21, 09, 10:34 am   #10
  
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Does anyone know minimum transit time when booked on separate airlines and tickets (i.e., arriving on SAA and departing on Air Bots? (I'm guessing the minimum transit time of 60 minutes may assume you're on the same ticket and therefore already checked in for your connecting flight)

Thanks!
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Old Jan 3, 10, 11:12 pm   #11
  
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I am also intersted in minimum connection times and transit. We are considering a British Airways ticket to VFA from JNB in August - will be arriving a 9:45am on an Air France flight and the BA flight departs at 11:25am. Does Air France and British Airways have a baggage check agreement? Would love to get out of JNB withouth having to stay overnight and leave the next day.
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Old Jan 5, 10, 2:52 am   #12
  
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Look here Mileage Runs turnarounds / turnabouts / transits:- Experiences please
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Old Jul 15, 10, 8:53 am   #13
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gleff View Post
JNB is relatively easy for international transit, IIRC 60 minute minimum connection time. (I issued tickets yesterday that were 65 minutes and didn't have a problem.)
Just to offer a contrary example - I just transited thru JNB this week.

SAA IAD-JNB transferring to SAA JNB-WND

With exactly 1 hr connect time - arr 1705 dep 1805. When I checked in at IAD they wouldn't (couldn't) issue my WND BP - perhaps because I was actually ticketed as the UA code-share flight.

So we land at JNB about 5 min late. Of course, we get put in remote parking. I was in C so right off the plane, on the bus to the terminal. Did have to go thru an Immigration check (they stamped my passport) and show up at the SAA Premium transfer desk at 1725 - 40 min before flight. The guy at the desk picks up and calls and asks "Can we take any more for 078 (my flight #)? Answer comes back "no" - he looks at me and shrugs and says "sorry". Well I did not want to spend the night in JNB (I knew if was the last WND flight) and I raised a minor ruckus . Finally a lady heard me - the main thing I was saying was that I was full-fare C pax (true) and how could they a) not know I was coming in on 208, and b) it was still 40 min before the flight and their rules are to be at gate at 20 min. They tried to say the flight closes at 1 hr. I then said - "then you sold me a ticket that was physically impossible to check-in on-time (unless the flight arrived 20+ min early).

Well finally the lady goes back, calls, comes and gives me my BP and says - run!!

Well I made the gate, they take me out on the bus, to the plane sitting right next to the A340-600 I got off!! Of course ,my bag, although checked thru w/ priority tags, did not make the flight. They did deliver 1st thing next day.

I have had previous problems with SAA transfers - so just my advice would be get 90 min+ connect times (if possible)...YMMV
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Old Jul 15, 10, 9:31 am   #14
  
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A cautionary tale, indeed!

This part intrigues me:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwm818 View Post
Did have to go thru an Immigration check (they stamped my passport)...
Why would they need to stamp your passport?
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Old Jul 26, 10, 5:37 am   #15
  
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Because he didn't manage to get his boarding pass for the Johannesburg - Windhoek segment in IAD
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