Checked Luggage & Connecting in JNB

Old Jan 7, 19, 10:03 am
  #1  
formerly Christopher Sutton
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Checked Luggage & Connecting in JNB

Hi all, I am flying to JNB this month and then later that day flying on a separate ticket with BA/ Commair to Port Elizabeth. Iíve just been reading that it may be possible to check all our luggage through to Port Elizabeth at T5 rather than collecting in JNB and re-checking it in. Is this possible?
Thanks, Chris
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Old Jan 7, 19, 10:21 am
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I believe that if you are on separate tickets then BA will not check baggage through to your final destination. You will have to collect your baggage at ORT/JNB and then check in with your baggage for your onward journey to PE.
We are flying from ABZ to WDH in May on a 2-4-1 ticket, but as the last leg from ORT/JNB to WDH is on a separate ticket with BA/Comair, we will need to collect baggage in JNB and then check in for that leg of the journey.
Very frustrating, but hey ho there's worse things in life.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 10:26 am
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formerly Christopher Sutton
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I thought that may be the case as we are on separate tickets. Yes there are worse things in life but with my parents travelling with us would have been a lot easier if we could check all the way through.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 10:36 am
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No on two counts.

First you are not connecting, and BA will not check through on separate tickets (officially anyway).

Secondly you have to clear customs and immigration at first point of entry.

However the process is easy.....drop your bags at the re-check point after customs and before you enter arrivals. Then take the escalator up to domestic departures.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 10:38 am
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Unless things have changed, you'll need to re-check your bags. It's a hassle, but not the end of the world and although it says you'll be leaving from a different terminal, it's all in the same building. These threads might provide some useful info, and I believe there is a Meet and Greet service offered by BidAir which may or may not make things smoother for you.

Question re: Int'l Transfer at JNB
Connection in JNB
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Old Jan 7, 19, 10:43 am
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The recheck desk can have quite a queue so why not wander up to the main Comair check in desk and drop there.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 10:47 am
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formerly Christopher Sutton
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Iíve manually connected at JNB before but the last time the re-check desk at arrivals was a) slow and b) a long queue. Iíve got three hours to do it so hopefully enough time.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 11:26 am
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Things have definitely not changed. It is never possible to through-check bags to another South African destination when arriving via Johannesburg, and it is a legal requirement to collect all baggage, proceed through customs, and then re-check separately for any domestic segment. This is unrelated to the ticket and applies to all passengers, on all tickets whether separate or single PNR.

When travelling outbound from another South African airport via Johannesburg, it has always for me been possible to check-through (including on flights in the last few months). I do this when checking in for SA domestic British Airways (Operated by Comair) flights, always on separate tickets. I do not know if it is Comairís policy to always through-check to London, or if I have just been lucky on every occasion.

Comair tend to be more forgiving than BA mainline in general. For example, I have missed connections multiple times on separate tickets inbound to South Africa, due to either a late inbound or a long immigration queue, and British Airways (operated by Comair) have happily placed me on a subsequent flight at no charge. I have never risked a similar outbound misconnect from South Africa! As I feel it may very well result in a much less fortunate outcome.

So, all in all, I suggest for anyone reading and considering separate ticketing ó feel comfortable booking separate tickets, but with the usual common-sense cautions and appreciation of risk about misconnecting. Be aware you must always collect and re-check bags when travelling into SA, regardless of ticket. Be aware that anecdotally, Comair tend to be helpful if a connection is missed inbound, even on separate tickets; and that they tend to happily check bags through when leaving South Africa. For this reason - and because domestic tickets are usually available for a reasonable same-day price, I am always much more conservative about connection times when leaving South Africa, than when arriving.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 1:22 pm
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Sorry SurreyFlightPath, my "worse things in life" was aimed at myself and certainly not you. (I feel I shouldn't be moaning when I'm so lucky to be able to fly off to fantastic places).
I find huge queues very frustrating especially after a long haul flight and the thought of having to get our luggage and then go through the check in, security etc etc once again isn't something I'm looking forward to. The most frustrating thing is that we are using a 2-4-1 voucher, the JNB-WDH leg is a separate revenue ticket and although it's a BA/Comair flight can't be added to the 2-4-1 booking.
We are going to book the Bidair VIP service to ease our way through ORT, we used it last year when we needed to pick up our hire car and to start our drive up to Botswana. It worked really well and for our circumstances at that time was well worth it. We have left as much time as possible between flights incase of delays arriving into JNB so that we don't miss our flight to WDH........fingers crossed! On our return we are flying straight from JNB to LHR so won't have to worry about a connection.
We also have a trip to JNB in 4 weeks time but as we are just staying with friends won't bother with the VIP service as we won't be in a rush..........I'll be the grumpy old woman in the immigration queue though Lol.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 5:46 am
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Originally Posted by Thomathy View Post
Things have definitely not changed.
...
So, all in all, I suggest for anyone reading and considering separate ticketing ó feel comfortable booking separate tickets, but with the usual common-sense cautions and appreciation of risk about misconnecting. Be aware you must always collect and re-check bags when travelling into SA, regardless of ticket. Be aware that anecdotally, Comair tend to be helpful if a connection is missed inbound, even on separate tickets; and that they tend to happily check bags through when leaving South Africa. For this reason - and because domestic tickets are usually available for a reasonable same-day price, I am always much more conservative about connection times when leaving South Africa, than when arriving.
I must say this has been my experience over several years. Comair do seem to be steps ahead of mainlne BA customer service.

On one occasion, I had a group flying LHR-JNB on VS connecting to PLZ on BA/Comair. VS was late arriving and washed their hands of connecting pax. Comair to the rescue! They reaccommodated transfer pax on several Comair flights. I was in the last group. They offered us their empty lounge. We were able to watch the Formula One race and, I'm afraid to say, we emptied their stock of beer. Since then, I've been more than happy to fly Comair.

Yes, the Int'l/Domestic transfer at JNB is a bit of a hassle, but miles better now than pre-World Cup.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 5:52 am
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Similar situation for me later this month too, I've allowed 5 hours for connections each way at JNB with the hope that Comair will move me to an earlier flight if we are not delayed. Interesting to see that there may be a possibility of checking bags through on the return, that would save a fair bit of hassle.

Last edited by strickers; Jan 8, 19 at 6:16 am
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Old Jan 8, 19, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by strickers View Post
Similar situation for me later this month too, I've allowed 5 hours for connections each way at JNB with the hope that Comair will move me to an earlier flight if we are not delayed. Interesting to see that there may be a possibility of checking bags through on the return, that would save a fair bit of hassle.
On my last trip i was refused twice a free swap to an earlier flight. :-(
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Old Jan 8, 19, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by stewaran View Post
On my last trip i was refused twice a free swap to an earlier flight. :-(
Nothing ventured nothing gained. Iím hoping my airline ID might help!
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Old Jan 8, 19, 8:56 am
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Definitely need to recheck bags in JNB. We had a 1h45 connection to DUR and almost missed it because it took over an hour for our bag to hit the carousel. Our bag never made it to DUR and came in on a later flight. I've usually skipped connections due to large queues and checked my bag at domestic although connections desk may be more lenient with the 45 minutes prior to departure rule (they were for us).
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Old Feb 3, 19, 7:28 am
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Sorry to hijack this thread...

If connecting to an international flight on an itinerary LHR-JNB-HRE, is there a requirement to collect and re-check bags? Or can they be checked through to HRE and I go through a transit area instead?

Thanks.
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