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JNB / Johannesburg Airport - Connections, Facilities, Layovers, etc.

JNB / Johannesburg Airport - Connections, Facilities, Layovers, etc.

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Old Dec 15, 18, 3:32 pm   -   Wikipost
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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 #106 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.
Your passport will be stamped with a "TRANSIT" stamp here even though you do not enter the country, and you must ensure that you have the required blank pages otherwise you may not be permitted to continue your transit and instead sent back to your originating point.

A few meters beyond the immigration checkpoint is the main transit information area which have desks for all the international airlines and handling agents.
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. This is not required if connecting from SAA to SAA flights however.

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):

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 (11) 390 2689
http://www.a-teck.co.za/or-tambo-airport-store-teck/
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Old Aug 18, 18, 7:58 pm
  #766  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by skywardhunter View Post
Just go ahead. Is that one-way? GRJ is a but but expensive than other airports because of the fewer flights
No it's return.
Actually the rates have gone down. Now it's $80USD!
But there's another option that's emerged. Kulula.
Any opinion on Kulula vs FlySafair?
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Old Aug 19, 18, 1:42 am
  #767  
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post

No it's return.
Actually the rates have gone down. Now it's $80USD!
But there's another option that's emerged. Kulula.
Any opinion on Kulula vs FlySafair?
​​​​​​Both good, go with what's cheaper. Kulula more established and a bigger company overall, bigger fleet, too, so perhaps a bit more reliable
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Old Aug 19, 18, 3:31 am
  #768  
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Been pretty happy with Kulula
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Old Aug 19, 18, 8:03 am
  #769  
 
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JNB Connection Advice

Inbound: JFK - JNB Arrives 8:05
Connection: JNB - CPT Departs 18:00

This is an award ticket booked with UA miles all in J on SAA in early September. The problem I have is we donít need/want such a long layover. Unfortunately, the flight to CPT at 18:00 was the only one available with miles when we booked. We will have at least one checked bag. The possible solutions I see are:
  • Wait for award space on an earlier SAA flight to open, but I would be subject to a $125 per ticket change fee.
  • Buy a separate ticket for an earlier flight on either Mango, Safair or BA/Comair for $80-$100 per ticket. Even if our bags are tagged all the way to CPT, we will be able to collect them at customs and re-check on the new flight.
  • Get to JNB and see if SAA would be willing to put us on an earlier flight for free, even though our flights were not booked with SAA.

What do you guys think is the best option? Do you think SAA would change us to an earlier flight, even though we are not on their ticket stock? Of the other airline choices, which is best/most reliable?
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Old Aug 19, 18, 8:38 am
  #770  
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Originally Posted by CMH_flyer_470 View Post
Inbound: JFK - JNB Arrives 8:05
Connection: JNB - CPT Departs 18:00

This is an award ticket booked with UA miles all in J on SAA in early September. The problem I have is we donít need/want such a long layover. Unfortunately, the flight to CPT at 18:00 was the only one available with miles when we booked. We will have at least one checked bag. The possible solutions I see are:
  • Wait for award space on an earlier SAA flight to open, but I would be subject to a $125 per ticket change fee.
  • Buy a separate ticket for an earlier flight on either Mango, Safair or BA/Comair for $80-$100 per ticket. Even if our bags are tagged all the way to CPT, we will be able to collect them at customs and re-check on the new flight.
  • Get to JNB and see if SAA would be willing to put us on an earlier flight for free, even though our flights were not booked with SAA.

What do you guys think is the best option? Do you think SAA would change us to an earlier flight, even though we are not on their ticket stock? Of the other airline choices, which is best/most reliable?
Aren't awards issued on the operating carrier's stock? At least they should be on SA codes. Generally SA is very flexible (or used to be, not sure of current status) on JNB-CPT and I've many times switched to earlier and later flights (due to missed connections) and it's never been an issue. Just ask when you arrive at the transfer desk just after customs. At that point they won't care who sold you the ticket as it'll be fully in their control
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Old Aug 19, 18, 8:56 am
  #771  
 
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If you are not interested in such a long connection (you could do a day trip to Johannesburg with such a long connection), why not simply book your award tickets to JNB and book a convenient flight JNB-CPT?
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Old Aug 19, 18, 12:46 pm
  #772  
 
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Originally Posted by skywardhunter View Post
​​​​​​Both good, go with what's cheaper. Kulula more established and a bigger company overall, bigger fleet, too, so perhaps a bit more reliable
Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
Been pretty happy with Kulula
Okay great, thank you both! I will look to book either.
@skywardhunter You've especially been most helpful. Really appreciate it.
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Old Sep 9, 18, 10:19 pm
  #773  
 
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Place to rest for a few hours

We have the 6-hr layover coming up in JNB. Flying in on AF premium economy, flying out domestic on Kulula, separate tix. No meaningful airline status. Anticipate being quite tired from a very long trip from US. There's something called Bidveld Lounge that we could use via Priority Pass or cash. But their website says one can only use it within 2hrs of your departure time.

Any option as far as a place to relax and kill time for a few hours from around 11am/noon-2pm?
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Old Sep 16, 18, 3:11 am
  #774  
 
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One of the airport hotels maybe.
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Old Oct 5, 18, 4:59 am
  #775  
 
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I've got a cheap flight booked from CAI-ADD(overnight)-JNB with the final leg on ET arriving at 1305 at Terminal A

Was looking at adding an extra flight to go JNB-MQP (domestic) on SA which departs at 1530.

From the replies I've read and the sticky, it sounds like this would be do-able but slightly tight but just wanted to ask for more opinions on this, especially the expected arrival immigration line at this hour of the day

Given the potential tightness of the connection, im thinking doing carry on bags only will save some time as well

Thanks in advance!
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Old Oct 5, 18, 5:05 am
  #776  
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Originally Posted by goodtasting View Post
I've got a cheap flight booked from CAI-ADD(overnight)-JNB with the final leg on ET arriving at 1305 at Terminal A

Was looking at adding an extra flight to go JNB-MQP (domestic) on SA which departs at 1530.

From the replies I've read and the sticky, it sounds like this would be do-able but slightly tight but just wanted to ask for more opinions on this, especially the expected arrival immigration line at this hour of the day

Given the potential tightness of the connection, im thinking doing carry on bags only will save some time as well

Thanks in advance!
Should be doable, you can re-check after customs and go up and back through immigration and security. You might even be able to check bags through and remain airside as ET and SA are both *A but not sure about that. 1pm shouldn't be too busy at immigration
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Old Oct 9, 18, 2:52 am
  #777  
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I came in on that ET flight yesterday, and the immigration queue was completely empty - I was in the SLOW lounge in domestic departures 20 Minutes after doors opened, and that included getting my shoes shined. Admittedly I had no checked bags, but there are only a handful of intl flights arriving at that time, so I think that you will have plenty of time. For info, we left ADD about 25 minutes late and landed 5 minutes early.

PS even if you do get ET to through check the bags, you'll still need to immigrate and collect/recheck them in JNB as it's your first port of entry into South Africa.
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Old Nov 8, 18, 11:42 am
  #778  
 
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Business class transit access lines

Arriving on SAA from jfk to jnb at 8:15am in business class.

Departing JNB to CPT at 10:15am also in business class.

Is there any fast track lanes at immigration or customs?

Is there a premium check in lane? Or premium passenger security line?

I am reading the two hour connection is tight for International to Domestic and debating if I should spend another $350 on one of the third party VIP transfer services.
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Old Nov 8, 18, 11:50 am
  #779  
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Originally Posted by Dpetryszyn View Post
Arriving on SAA from jfk to jnb at 8:15am in business class.

Departing JNB to CPT at 10:15am also in business class.

Is there any fast track lanes at immigration or customs?

Is there a premium check in lane? Or premium passenger security line?

I am reading the two hour connection is tight for International to Domestic and debating if I should spend another $350 on one of the third party VIP transfer services.
Other than at check-in and boarding (i.e. airline controlled queues) there is no fast-track or premium access at airport/government operated queues (Immigration, Customs, Security)
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Old Nov 8, 18, 12:15 pm
  #780  
 
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2 hours is a bit tight but not impossible. If you are checking a bag that will add a few minutes as you need to wait for it before going through customs.

Did you buy this as a single ticket though to CPT? If you did then SAA will rebook you on a later flight in the event that you miss that connection.
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