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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 #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.

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, 2:46 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 26, 09, 7:11 am   #2
  
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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, 3:55 pm   #3
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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, 7:18 am   #4
  
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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, 7:07 pm   #5
  
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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, 3:30 am   #6
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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, 12:51 pm   #7
  
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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 5:03 pm
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Old Nov 11, 09, 2:26 pm   #8
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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, 9:34 am   #9
  
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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, 10:12 pm   #10
  
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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, 1:52 am   #11
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Look here http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milea...es-please.html
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Old Mar 29, 10, 6:49 pm   #12
  
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Question Johannesburg Connection Times

I'm flying SAA from Cape Town to Johannesburg, on a Wed in late Apr. Connecting onto Delta to the US. I can't check my bags through at CPT because flights were booked on separate itineraries. So I have to collect my bags at Joburg domestic and go check in at international. Delta recently moved their flight departure up so I now 2 hr 10 minutes between landing in Joburg and departure to US. Is that enough time to get the bags, make the walk, check in, and clear security? Thanks to anybody that can help with this.
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Old Mar 29, 10, 7:13 pm   #13
  
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Is your CPT-JNB flight on SAA? If so I think they should be able to interline your bags for you as my mom often does PLZ-JNB-ATL on different tickets but they still interline. I am not sure about BA or the other domestic airlines however. If your on SAA I'd get them to interline them in CPT, but you may need to ask to speak with a few agents before you find someone who is able/willing to do it.

2hr10min may be tight. Luggage claim should be quite quick but you never know. Immigration right before that evening bank of flights may be a bit busy but security and immigration I can't see taking more than 30min. I think the check in counter to drop off your bags though will be the wild card. I haven't flown DL out of JNB before but if its like SAA or LH can it can sometimes take a while even if just a few people are in front of you in line.

Personally I'd change to have a longer layover so I am not worrying about the connection on the way from CPT. Hopefully the domestic airline will be sympathetic if its a restricted ticket...

Good luck
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Old Mar 30, 10, 6:33 am   #14
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Fish View Post
I'm flying SAA from Cape Town to Johannesburg, on a Wed in late Apr. Connecting onto Delta to the US. I can't check my bags through at CPT because flights were booked on separate itineraries. So I have to collect my bags at Joburg domestic and go check in at international. Delta recently moved their flight departure up so I now 2 hr 10 minutes between landing in Joburg and departure to US. Is that enough time to get the bags, make the walk, check in, and clear security? Thanks to anybody that can help with this.
My initial reaction was "no problem". I hate short connections and would not hesitate to book one of 2h10 at JNB. But then I started thinking about:
  • What class are you travelling? Check-in will be quicker and smoother in J.
  • What are DL's rules? Many airlines require check-in well in advance of flight time especially for flights to the US. It is usually less for J pax.
  • You will get there in the thick of the evening rush.
  • Any delay on your incoming flight would make it tight and you'd be on your own with separate tickets.

With all this in mind I'm less certain that I would be comfortable. Without a doubt I would follow Mbenz's advice and investigate the possibility that the other carrier will book your luggage through. Unless it is an LCC I think the chances are very good.
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Old Mar 30, 10, 8:12 am   #15
  
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I just did the same thing this past week. Flew SAA CPT-JNB on a separate ticket, with a checked bag. Then had a separate Delta ticket JNB-ATL. We had 3 hours between flights at JNB. Our flight was a little late (10 minutes) taking off from CPT due to traffic control at JNB.

Checked bags came out quickly but then you need to change terminals at JNB & the signage to do so is not that great. You end up walking partly thru the garage. We were in BE so we had a quick check-in at the DL ticket counter. We went to the club & had about 25-30 minutes before boarding was called (about 5 minutes later than expected).

Now, what did throw us for a loop was the LONG lines at the SAA ticket counter in CPT. We had not done online checkin. But after standing in line briefly, we figured out that we could get out of line, do online kiosk check-in, then walk around to the other side to drop our bags. This was much quicker.

One of our friends stayed in the ticket counter line and was told that they could not get on the plane because it was oversold and it was too late prior to take off. If she had not made that flight, she may have missed her JNB-ATL flight. It all ended well after she insisted on speaking to a supervisor. Surprisingly, her checked bag also made the flight.

So, you may want to be sure you also get to CPT with some time to spare, and/or do online check-in or kiosk check-in.
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