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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 Sep 8, 19, 5:04 pm
  #871  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,557
  • Inbound: SAA HDS-JNB arrive 3:30 pm
  • Outbound: VS JNB-LHR dept 8:20 pm
My parents are traveling from South African Airways HDS-JNB and Virgin Atlantic JNB-LHR on separate Y tickets with a ~ 4.5 hr layover.
1. Should SAA be able to through check their bags and they should follow the Domestic-International transit https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/19908069-post106.html ? Or will they need to get bags in JNB and check in with Virgin Atlantic Terminal A?
2. Any Terminal A international food suggestions for someone with gluten sensitivity?
freecia is offline  
Old Sep 8, 19, 5:14 pm
  #872  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Los Angeles
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
  • Inbound: SAA HDS-JNB arrive 3:30 pm
  • Outbound: VS JNB-LHR dept 8:20 pm
My parents are traveling from South African Airways HDS-JNB and Virgin Atlantic JNB-LHR on separate Y tickets with a ~ 4.5 hr layover.
1. Should SAA be able to through check their bags and they should follow the Domestic-International transit https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/19908069-post106.html ? Or will they need to get bags in JNB and check in with Virgin Atlantic Terminal A?
2. Any Terminal A international food suggestions for someone with gluten sensitivity?
Virgin Atlantic and SAA are Codeshare partners so your parents should be able to check their luggage through to LHR.
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Old Oct 4, 19, 12:45 pm
  #873  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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How is JNB as a mileage run airport?

By that, I mean arriving from a destination (likely either LHR or HKG) and transiting through JNB immediately back to the origin airport - so never exiting the airport.

This appears to be easy, especially if I already have a boarding pass in my hands as I arrive JNB - but it would be good to have some confirmation of that!

US traveler, so there don't appear to be any visa implications here.
smithrh is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 1:04 pm
  #874  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 1
Smile Int'l to Domestic connection in JNB

Hi all,

We are flying in to South Africa in April of 2020 and I was wondering if there were any updates to airport transit times that folks could share. Our Delta flight lands (Int'l) at 1735 and then we have a domestic flight on Kulula Airlines to CPT at 1925 (Delta has stated that it will check bags through based on new agreements between the airlines). Any suggestions on how to get through quickly or if I have shot myself in the foot connection time-wise? Thanks
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Old Oct 10, 19, 2:23 am
  #875  
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Originally Posted by Heidi Gustafson View Post
Hi all,

We are flying in to South Africa in April of 2020 and I was wondering if there were any updates to airport transit times that folks could share. Our Delta flight lands (Int'l) at 1735 and then we have a domestic flight on Kulula Airlines to CPT at 1925 (Delta has stated that it will check bags through based on new agreements between the airlines). Any suggestions on how to get through quickly or if I have shot myself in the foot connection time-wise? Thanks
I think that this is very tight. Not definitely impossible, but a slightly long queue at immigration will cause problems.

Also, Delta cannot check your bags through in the way you may expect it to be. They may put CPT labels on the bags, but that has no effect. Every incoming bag has to be collected from the carrousel in JNB and taken through customs because domestic flights won't have a customs check on arrival. Then you need to check the bags in again at Kulula. There is a check in facility just as you emerge landslide, this used to be for SAA passengers only but my experience with that dates back very far, so it may have changed. But the fact that you need to collect and re-check your bags remains. And in any case, you need to make your way to the B terminal (it's in the same building, so not really a problem but quite a walk) to go through domestic security and then to your departure gate.

If you can change your Kulula flight to CPT to a later one, I would strongly recommend that. Are both flights on the same booking? At least you will then have protection if you miss the CPT flight (in that they will put you on the next flight at no additional cost)
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Old Oct 10, 19, 3:17 am
  #876  
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Location: UK - the nearest airport is named after a motorway !
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Originally Posted by smithrh View Post
How is JNB as a mileage run airport?

By that, I mean arriving from a destination (likely either LHR or HKG) and transiting through JNB immediately back to the origin airport - so never exiting the airport.

This appears to be easy, especially if I already have a boarding pass in my hands as I arrive JNB - but it would be good to have some confirmation of that!

US traveler, so there don't appear to be any visa implications here.
No issues with int'l transfer, so no problem from that side, but certainly the LHR flights all spend the entire day on the ground at JNB, so you'll have a +/- 12 hour layover - would definitely suggest getting out of the airport for a while, even if it's just Gautrain down to Sandton/Rosebank and a long leisurely lunch in the sunshine...

Originally Posted by Heidi Gustafson View Post
Hi all,

We are flying in to South Africa in April of 2020 and I was wondering if there were any updates to airport transit times that folks could share. Our Delta flight lands (Int'l) at 1735 and then we have a domestic flight on Kulula Airlines to CPT at 1925 (Delta has stated that it will check bags through based on new agreements between the airlines). Any suggestions on how to get through quickly or if I have shot myself in the foot connection time-wise? Thanks
Originally Posted by thijsseh View Post
I think that this is very tight. Not definitely impossible, but a slightly long queue at immigration will cause problems.

If you can change your Kulula flight to CPT to a later one, I would strongly recommend that. Are both flights on the same booking? At least you will then have protection if you miss the CPT flight (in that they will put you on the next flight at no additional cost)
One positive is that immigration in the evening is *normally* rather better than in the morning when the bank of European flights arrive. But agreed, while it's possible, it's tight - 1:50 intl-dom connection is about my comfort level with no checked bags...
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Old Nov 6, 19, 8:28 am
  #877  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 81
INTL-DOM connections at JNB - Virgin from LHR to BA CPT

Hi there, I have read a few helpful posts here on the connection times for JNB airport but I would like the latest info please as my last transit (as UK airline staff) was in 2006!

My sister plans to fly Virgin Upper Class from LHR arriving JNB Terminal A at 10.55
then onto CPT in Club with BA/Comair from Terminal B departing at 12.40

Have I go this correct please>>
On arrival JNB Terminal A Upper Class pax should be first off the aircraft (and the bags!)
She then has to clear immigration, collect her bags off the belts and clear customs, where I gather there is a BA bag drop just after the customs exit on the left?
then she makes her way upstairs to Terminal B for the BA departure to CPT

Is this enough time for a savvy traveller - 1 hour 45 minutes?

I can book her the 14.00 flight to CPT which is a 3 hour connection so she could go to the BA/Comair lounge but I really want her to get going to CPT ASAP

She is on separate reward tickets - VS Flying Cub and BA Avios
I am retired airline operations Duty Officer LHR and LGW so I know the score BUT what is JNB like these days?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:00 am
  #878  
 
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Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
Hi there, I have read a few helpful posts here on the connection times for JNB airport but I would like the latest info please as my last transit (as UK airline staff) was in 2006!

My sister plans to fly Virgin Upper Class from LHR arriving JNB Terminal A at 10.55
then onto CPT in Club with BA/Comair from Terminal B departing at 12.40

Have I go this correct please>>
On arrival JNB Terminal A Upper Class pax should be first off the aircraft (and the bags!)
She then has to clear immigration, collect her bags off the belts and clear customs, where I gather there is a BA bag drop just after the customs exit on the left?
then she makes her way upstairs to Terminal B for the BA departure to CPT

Is this enough time for a savvy traveller - 1 hour 45 minutes?

I can book her the 14.00 flight to CPT which is a 3 hour connection so she could go to the BA/Comair lounge but I really want her to get going to CPT ASAP

She is on separate reward tickets - VS Flying Cub and BA Avios
I am retired airline operations Duty Officer LHR and LGW so I know the score BUT what is JNB like these days?

Thanks!
Take the later flight. There are a few large aircraft coming in around mid-morning. For example, I had to meet friends coming off a Qatar flight and they had a 45 minute for luggage - which is unusual, but can happen.
Also, once she has collected luggage and cleared customs she must go through and after the SAA Arrivals Lounge turn left and she can recheck her luggage in there. Also, she needs to seal her luggage properly (shrink wrap or if a hard shell, properly locked). Theft is, unfortunately, a reality at JNB.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 9:01 am
  #879  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
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There are 2 more wide body aircrafts scheduled to land at the same time, if they land before the VS flight the queue at immigration can easily take her an hour.
On separate tickets, I would allow at least 3 hours, and keep in mind she might have to take her luggage all the way to the check-in counters unless Virgin through-check her bag to the domestic flight, the 14:00 will be the better option.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 11:01 am
  #880  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 81
Thanks for the replies and updates on JNB - I should do the 3 hours then.

Or, I might see if I can get her a non-stop to CPT but she wants to go Virgin....
Damn it TCK going bust -- LOL they had Premium one way non-stops for 449!!
I could send her LHR or LCY via FRA then Condor 767 non-stop to CPT...

Yes I just read on TA about make sure you shrink wrap your luggage if going thru JNB - good grief what has it all become eh?

Also re Ditto's post -
Thank you both for the 3 flight arrivals info, cheers.


FYI
Anyone flying into JNB and then onward Domestic (as in our case here) Virgin or BA cannot tag your bag from London through to CPT, well they can...but,
at JNB you still have to clear passport & customs and claim your bag, then re-check it in for the next flight as JNB is your first entry point in the RSA.
Only International transfer bags can be interlined - such as LHR-JNB-MRU for instance.
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Old Nov 7, 19, 3:49 pm
  #881  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Going to be spending some quality time on Monday at JNB, and I'm wondering about lounges. I'm flying in and out int'l on BA, and I'm EXP on AA (and I have Priority Pass to FWIW). I'll definitely be looking for a good shower as well as a little lounge time. I can't tell if the BA lounge there has reopened or not, and many other lounges appear to be available to me, but I can't really get a read on which one I should head to.

Any thoughts . . . ?
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Old Nov 8, 19, 3:24 am
  #882  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
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If you can get access to the SLOW lounge that would be your best option https://slow.co.za/lounge-access, I'm not sure what other lounge BA might be using for one-world elites.
Priority pass gives you access to the bidvest lounge which is also pretty decent and the better of the PP lounges
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Old Nov 8, 19, 4:55 am
  #883  
 
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The SLOW lounge is the best lounge at JNB. EK is probably 2nd best but no use to you. Biggest is ok, nothing great. All the other contract lounges are quite average.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 9:03 am
  #884  
 
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SLOW lounge is not available to BA mainline (long haul) passengers under normal circumstances. The BA lounge has now re-opened so that will be the current best option: JNB Lounge refurbishment done?
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Old Nov 9, 19, 10:10 am
  #885  
 
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Similar question as Rog747, Flying into JNB from LHR on the earlier Virgin flight in upper class, arriving 0755. I have booked club BA flight to PLZ at 11:10. Is this is a safe assumptions of just a little over 3 hours for the connection? 3hr 15 min to be exact!

Last edited by mitpat474; Nov 9, 19 at 10:31 am
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