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.
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.
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, you will come to the transfer desks.
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.
In the case of Intl-Dom connections, there is no need to "exit into the public area and proceed up to departures level by way of the escalators which are opposite and to the left". You can use the internal escalators to the upper level which are located to the immediate left of the re-checkin desks and before you exit to the public area. These escalators bring you out in front of the Vodacom store and right next to the international departures security/immigration checkpoint. From there, it is one level further up to domestic departures. This has the benefit of avoiding the crowd of taxi touts, etc.. that congregate at the public exit.
I don't particularly want to travel carry-on only, but if it means I don't have to chase a delayed bag It might be the only option.
When flying to or via JNB, carry-on is the only sane option, and eminently doable in most cases. Unless you are going to climb a mountain or have a lot of tools or equipment you need for your work, a little bit of planning should allow most people to travel with an absolute minimum of luggage.
I've not done that myself so I'm not sure - would be good to know.
Regarding the escalators by the re-check desks (I really must make an effort to use them next time) do they end up on the retail level of the domestic terminal?
Yes, there is a re-check on the left just before you exit to the public area on the right.
The escalators bring you out in front of the Vodacom store and right next to the international departures security/immigration checkpoint. Turn left and you'll come to CNA, Woolworths, etc.. and then a bit further to the food court. One level up to checkin area "B" and the domestic departures.
We are connecting BA to BA arriving from London and continuing on to VFA in late november London flight arrives 940 am and VFA flight leaves at 11:25. The tickets are on separate PNR one award one paid. Has anyone had this connection. Likelihood of this working out ?
If we have a 16 hrs layover at OR Tambo before we continue on SAA to Blantyre, will we still collect and re-tag our bags? Will SAA accept them that far in advance of the flight?
I've proposed finding a quiet corner to sit/lay. Do you think that is possible? See my post from July 16.
I'm actually not sure what happens if it's an overnight layover. However, if it were me, I would not be particularly happy about leaving my bags in the care of JNB's baggage system for such a long period of time so I would rather collect them in the evening and then re-check them the next morning.
Carryon limits to facilitate JNB to CPT connecting flight
We are traveling next week from Washington Dulles (IAD) to JNB (a SAA flight booked thru United) and then have a separate SAA flight from JNB to CPT (booked directly with SAA). They were not ticketed together.
We intend to carryon all of our luggage on the international flight. We each have a duffel bag and a small to medium size backpack. We were assuming we would have to check our carryon bags for the flight from JNB to CPT but from what I've read on this thread, that appears to be risky--either bags not getting in on time or arriving with items missing.
How strict is SAA on the carryon limits for a JNB-CPT flight? We have 1hr 40mins between flights.
Checking baggage at JNB is more risky than elsewhere and if possible it's best to avoid it.
It looks like you would be over the limit for both the international and domestic legs (assuming you have a duffel bag and backpack each) so you may have no choice but to check the bags. However, enforcement of the carry-on rules is not very consistent.