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QR connect to Airlink in JNB on diff PNR. Do I need to clear immigration?

QR connect to Airlink in JNB on diff PNR. Do I need to clear immigration?

Old Nov 9, 2023, 7:54 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2017
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QR connect to Airlink in JNB on diff PNR. Do I need to clear immigration?

Thanks in advance for your help!

For May 2024 trip, I had booked a QR flight using AA miles to Windhoek, Namibia. But Qatar has just recently stopped flying to Namibia and they cancelled my last leg DOH-WDH. The AA agent I spoke to said I could get DOH-JNB or DOH-CPT then have to buy my own ticket from there to WDH.

After research, it seems like the best (cheapest, on time record, and time wise) is Airlink JNB-WDH for ~$120. This would mean 2 separate PNR.

From reading online, it seems Qatar has an agreement with Airlink. For example, if you buy ticket on Qatar website DOH-WDH - it will be DOH-JNB on Qatar then JNB- WDH on Airlink. But my flight was booked using AA miles so according to the AA agent, they can't put me on Airlink since it's not one world.

My questions are these:
1. Would I need to clear immigration? or do you think Qatar can do interline baggage with Airlink so I don't have to pick up my baggage in JNB?
2. IF I need to pick up my baggage and clear custom, how long should my layover be (minimum) in JNB to be able to clear custom/ immigration and catch my next flight?
3. Anyone knows if Qatar is going to fly to Namibia directly anytime soon? It seems like they were going to come back in March 2024 but I looked on their schedule and I don't see any direct flight in May 2024.
Jennatraveller is offline  
Old Nov 10, 2023, 6:10 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by Jennatraveller
My questions are these:
1. Would I need to clear immigration? or do you think Qatar can do interline baggage with Airlink so I don't have to pick up my baggage in JNB?
2. IF I need to pick up my baggage and clear custom, how long should my layover be (minimum) in JNB to be able to clear custom/ immigration and catch my next flight?
3. Anyone knows if Qatar is going to fly to Namibia directly anytime soon? It seems like they were going to come back in March 2024 but I looked on their schedule and I don't see any direct flight in May 2024.
#1 - I wouldn't count on this - QR will through check usually onto separate OneWorld itineraries ( but it's a bit tricky to get them to do it sometimes ) .. If they will then there is an immigration bypass transfer route at JNB where you can go and there are transfer desks there even if you haven't got your Airlink Boarding card
#2 - QR flights into JNB are pretty punctual usually .. While JNB is a busy airport it's not that busy internationally apart from in the morning , and even then in my experience immigration is never that bad and baggage usually shows up quickly .. aircraft door to landside in under half an hour is usually doable - departure immigration and security can be a little slow .. tends to be busier in the late afternoon and early evening .. I don't know what your options are exactly, but I wouldn't be comfortable with much less than 3 hours , especially if you're arriving in the morning when International arrivals is busier
#3 - No idea sorry !
EvilDoctorK is offline  
Old Nov 10, 2023, 12:06 pm
  #3  
 
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Nice to see AA able to rebook you onto a JNB service. Quite often if there isn't award availability (which i assume there wasn't), they won't rebook and you get stuck in limbo.
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 2:22 pm
  #4  
 
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Have connected from QR to an Airlink flight a couple of times. I don't like my luggage being transferred in JNB from a security aspect so have always cleared customs and then rechecked in for the connecting flight (in my case one was Victoria Falls, the other Kasane in Botswana. There is a desk just past immigration where you can recheck your bags but there's often a line there. The easiest is to go to the Airlink check in counters which are extremely well staffed and efficient. If your ongoing flight is late morning/early afternoon the security line is not that busy and tends to be relatively fast.
If you're concerned you can book one of the meet and great services that will expedite immigration, check in and security for you but unless you have a tight connection you shouldn't have any issues.
If you have a full fare on a regional Airlink ticket you'll also have access to the Slow lounge which is one of the nicer lounges in JNB.
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 2:52 pm
  #5  
 
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I recently had an OTA book me on Emirates from IAH>DXB>CPT by transferring miles from Chase to Skywards. Unable to book QR to WDH anymore which is sad. I usually try to fly on OneWorld partners.
I am spending a few days in CPT before flying on Airlink to WDH using UA miles.
Still waiting for my return trip using miles but likely will have to fly to either CPT or JNB on Airlink out of WDH before my flight home to the US.
Do lock your checked bags or get them wrapped if you fly into JNB as theft from bags is rampant there. At least I can avoid JNB outbound.
My trip is late September to almost mid October 2024.
sweetsleep is offline  
Old Nov 10, 2023, 4:41 pm
  #6  
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Check to see if Namibia requires a special visa if you transfer through ZA/ JNB. Also, some airlines, like BA, erroneously do not allow transfers via JNB/ZA on separate tickets and will deny you boarding on the first flight if you are not ZA admissible. Check the drama in this thread.

BA denied wife & daughters boarding due incorrect use of Timatic
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 5:21 pm
  #7  
 
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Im a little bit sad to discover theyre stopping flying to Namibia- is this a permanent change?
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Old Nov 14, 2023, 11:28 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by EvilDoctorK
#1 - I wouldn't count on this - QR will through check usually onto separate OneWorld itineraries ( but it's a bit tricky to get them to do it sometimes ) .. If they will then there is an immigration bypass transfer route at JNB where you can go and there are transfer desks there even if you haven't got your Airlink Boarding card
#2 - QR flights into JNB are pretty punctual usually .. While JNB is a busy airport it's not that busy internationally apart from in the morning , and even then in my experience immigration is never that bad and baggage usually shows up quickly .. aircraft door to landside in under half an hour is usually doable - departure immigration and security can be a little slow .. tends to be busier in the late afternoon and early evening .. I don't know what your options are exactly, but I wouldn't be comfortable with much less than 3 hours , especially if you're arriving in the morning when International arrivals is busier
#3 - No idea sorry !
Thanks for the detailed explanation. I think I'll try to get Airlink ticket with much more than 3 hours connection based on your advice. It's just sucks cause everything has to be pre-booked in Namibia so a lot of our booking are non refundable/ big penalties. the flight change really affected our timing.

Just to clarify. If I decided to travel with just a carry-on. Do I still need to go through immigration? or can I just go to the transfer desk (airside) to get my boarding pass with Airlink?
Jennatraveller is offline  
Old Nov 14, 2023, 11:37 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by nk15
Check to see if Namibia requires a special visa if you transfer through ZA/ JNB. Also, some airlines, like BA, erroneously do not allow transfers via JNB/ZA on separate tickets and will deny you boarding on the first flight if you are not ZA admissible. Check the drama in this thread.

BA denied wife & daughters boarding due incorrect use of Timatic
Thanks for the heads-up. I will have to make sure I meet all the required visa (if any). It's our first time to Namibia. We are sooo close to giving up and just go to South Africa (although we just went there last year). So many hoops to jump through but a lot of the hotel/ camp booking has huge penalties for cancellation. Now I wish I didn't book things so far in advance.
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Old Nov 14, 2023, 11:42 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by sweetsleep
I recently had an OTA book me on Emirates from IAH>DXB>CPT by transferring miles from Chase to Skywards. Unable to book QR to WDH anymore which is sad. I usually try to fly on OneWorld partners.
I am spending a few days in CPT before flying on Airlink to WDH using UA miles.
Still waiting for my return trip using miles but likely will have to fly to either CPT or JNB on Airlink out of WDH before my flight home to the US.
Do lock your checked bags or get them wrapped if you fly into JNB as theft from bags is rampant there. At least I can avoid JNB outbound.
My trip is late September to almost mid October 2024.

Good tip. I'll be extra careful with the luggage to JNB. Cape town is definitely a better transit destination. You luck out on that.

Maybe QR will fly to WDH again in the future. It's not clear if it's just temporary or permanent. There were news article about QR abrupt pull from WDH and the reasons behind it.
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Old Nov 14, 2023, 11:44 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by dwugson
Have connected from QR to an Airlink flight a couple of times. I don't like my luggage being transferred in JNB from a security aspect so have always cleared customs and then rechecked in for the connecting flight (in my case one was Victoria Falls, the other Kasane in Botswana. There is a desk just past immigration where you can recheck your bags but there's often a line there. The easiest is to go to the Airlink check in counters which are extremely well staffed and efficient. If your ongoing flight is late morning/early afternoon the security line is not that busy and tends to be relatively fast.
If you're concerned you can book one of the meet and great services that will expedite immigration, check in and security for you but unless you have a tight connection you shouldn't have any issues.
If you have a full fare on a regional Airlink ticket you'll also have access to the Slow lounge which is one of the nicer lounges in JNB.
THIS! so useful. Thank you.

If I decided to just have carry-on. Do you know if there's a transfer desk on the airside for Airlink? or do I still need to go thru immigration?
Jennatraveller is offline  
Old Nov 14, 2023, 3:25 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Jennatraveller
THIS! so useful. Thank you.

If I decided to just have carry-on. Do you know if there's a transfer desk on the airside for Airlink? or do I still need to go thru immigration?
Pretty sure that if you go to the transfer desk there'll be no problem checking in for Airlink without the need to clear immigration. They do it mainly on line so I've usually checked in on my phone before arriving in JNB. Unlike you I have checked luggage as I carry a lot of camera gear. As I mentioned before you can use the Slow lounge if you have a full fare airllink ticket otherwise there are several Priority Pass lounges and pay lounges you can use while waiting. If your carry on is large there is no problem gate checking it but make sure it's locked without any valuables.
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Old Nov 16, 2023, 2:50 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by dwugson
Pretty sure that if you go to the transfer desk there'll be no problem checking in for Airlink without the need to clear immigration. They do it mainly on line so I've usually checked in on my phone before arriving in JNB. Unlike you I have checked luggage as I carry a lot of camera gear. As I mentioned before you can use the Slow lounge if you have a full fare airllink ticket otherwise there are several Priority Pass lounges and pay lounges you can use while waiting. If your carry on is large there is no problem gate checking it but make sure it's locked without any valuables.
Thank you for this info. It makes this planning less stressful. I have priority pass so that's good to know.
Jennatraveller is offline  

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