Xfer from SAA to BA @ JNB - Luggage?

Old Jan 10, 10, 10:33 am
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Xfer from SAA to BA @ JNB - Luggage?

I am transferring from a SAA international flight from FBM to BA flights to LHR and IAD at JNB. I have a layover of at least 5 hours in JNB. Does it make more sense to clear immigration, collect my bags, clear customs, and re-check on the BA flight -- or -- just have SAA interline check the bag through? Is baggage transfer in JNB reliable?

Thank you.
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Old Jan 10, 10, 10:49 am
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You have no choice - SA is like the USA, you have to collect your bags at the first international arrival.
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Old Jan 10, 10, 11:17 am
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Baggage transfer at JNB has improved enormously - from appalling to merely bad. It isn't that your bags won't make it, necessarily. Just that they may be tampered with and selected items removed. That said, I would be inclined to check them through (ensuring no valuables in them) rather than go through the rigmarole of customs/immigration/re-check. The "skelms" will have enough time to commune with your luggage no matter which way you do it. You can always check with BA in the lounge to ensure that your bags have been loaded.

Oh, and double check the luggage tags they put on at FBM just to make sure they are checked all the way and to the right airport.

Originally Posted by G-BOAC View Post
You have no choice - SA is like the USA, you have to collect your bags at the first international arrival.
Not if you're connecting international to international. In effect the OP will not be arriving in the country and in this instance the procedure differs from the US.
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Old Jan 10, 10, 11:23 am
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Thanks Cheetah_SA. Delayed bags on the way home are ok (mine have sat on the tarmac at LAD while I merrily taxied by them on a TP flight); it's the sticky fingers I am most worried about. Other than the "no valuables" part (trust me, I'd be a fool to take valuables to the DRC in any event), any recommedations for securing the bags from the "skelms"?? (new word for me - I like it!)
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Old Jan 10, 10, 12:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Not if you're connecting international to international. In effect the OP will not be arriving in the country and in this instance the procedure differs from the US.
Thank you for that...I was going by what SAA announced on my recent flight into JNB where they said ALL passengers had to collect bags. Perhaps there were no intl-intl conx (I was intl->domestic) that day?
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Old Jan 10, 10, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by G-BOAC View Post
Thank you for that...I was going by what SAA announced on my recent flight into JNB where they said ALL passengers had to collect bags. Perhaps there were no intl-intl conx (I was intl->domestic) that day?
I hope it hasn't changed recently! As has been discussed on other boards (most recently here - though, bafflingly, it mentions going through immigration?) , there has always been a transfer desk that enables you to bypass customs and immigration if you have an onward flight, even if you still need a boarding pass.

OTOH it is quite possible that the onboard announcement was just incorrectly made: saying "all passengers connecting to another flight must.." rather than "all passengers connecting to a domestic flight must...".

Originally Posted by map724 View Post
Thanks Cheetah_SA. Delayed bags on the way home are ok (mine have sat on the tarmac at LAD while I merrily taxied by them on a TP flight); it's the sticky fingers I am most worried about. Other than the "no valuables" part (trust me, I'd be a fool to take valuables to the DRC in any event), any recommedations for securing the bags from the "skelms"?? (new word for me - I like it!)
In that case I'd better give you the pronunciation: it's "skellims". It means petty crooks. (There is probably a better English translation but it eludes me right now.)

I'm not a fundi on avoiding the skelms at JNB. In other threads it would appear that locks are not much of a deterrent but I find that any unlocked pocket seems to get routinely examined. I usually put a strap around my luggage and that appears to have been effective - or it could just be coincidence. Some people swear by the plastic "mummy" wrapping but I doubt that's an option at FBM. I guess anything that makes your suitcase more trouble to open than the next one will provide a disincentive to the skelms.

The oddest thing I heard about being filched from a suitcase at JNB was a pair of shoes! Then in Arusha I saw a market stall that dealt exclusively in second hand shoes and realised that in Africa they are a saleable item at least as much as a second hand camera or an ipod.
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Old Jan 10, 10, 5:44 pm
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Yikes. My shoes are probably the most valuable thing in the bag. I suppose I'll try the strap plus the locks plus...

Speaking of the used shoe market, on the way to the airport at LOS I once saw a thriving market in, you guessed it, used luggage. I wonder where it all came from
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