getting on earlier flights

Old May 4, 17, 6:40 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 27
getting on earlier flights

Hey FT,

So my husband and I are flying to CPT via JNB (from ORD-IAD) in June in I. They were booked through United so initially we had to book a long layover in JNB (over 4 hours) and will arrive in CPT at 11:20pm on the last flight. Now, looks like there have been some award seats opened up on easier flights that will make it a more reasonable layover, however United is asking for a change fee of 150 USD. I am actually tempted to pay that in order to get in earlier. However, I figured I would ask frequent flyers on SAA (have never flown them before) what is their friendliness about allowing pax on earlier flights, especially in J/I? Are they insistent on charging fees to get on earlier flights in standby even in the cases where seats are available? I do not have status with United.
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Old May 5, 17, 11:36 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 789
Originally Posted by billy10drs View Post
Hey FT,

So my husband and I are flying to CPT via JNB (from ORD-IAD) in June in I. They were booked through United so initially we had to book a long layover in JNB (over 4 hours) and will arrive in CPT at 11:20pm on the last flight. Now, looks like there have been some award seats opened up on easier flights that will make it a more reasonable layover, however United is asking for a change fee of 150 USD. I am actually tempted to pay that in order to get in earlier. However, I figured I would ask frequent flyers on SAA (have never flown them before) what is their friendliness about allowing pax on earlier flights, especially in J/I? Are they insistent on charging fees to get on earlier flights in standby even in the cases where seats are available? I do not have status with United.
1) I don't know why UA booked you on such a long layover. Even with the terrible immigration lines at JNB, a shorter connection is doable.

2) In my experience, as long as everything is on the same PNR/Ticket, the post-customs re-check staff at JNB does often put you on an earlier flight if there are seats available. YMMV = all you have to do is read through a few threads in the Voyager and Africa forum to know that SAA is all over the map on what can happen, might happen, should happen or doesn't happen. Flying in J might help. Or being willing to fly in Y would help as well (it's a short flight and domestic J isn't so spectacular that you need to be seated in J).

3) It's really up in the air with the immigration times at JNB nowadays. You could end up needing some extra time to clear immigration and get through to bag claim/customs/re-check. I'd save the $300 total for the change and chance it based on 2 above.

PS - You're gonna LOVE CPT!
jsnydcsa is offline  
Old May 7, 17, 9:17 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by jsnydcsa View Post
1) I don't know why UA booked you on such a long layover. Even with the terrible immigration lines at JNB, a shorter connection is doable.

2) In my experience, as long as everything is on the same PNR/Ticket, the post-customs re-check staff at JNB does often put you on an earlier flight if there are seats available. YMMV = all you have to do is read through a few threads in the Voyager and Africa forum to know that SAA is all over the map on what can happen, might happen, should happen or doesn't happen. Flying in J might help. Or being willing to fly in Y would help as well (it's a short flight and domestic J isn't so spectacular that you need to be seated in J).

3) It's really up in the air with the immigration times at JNB nowadays. You could end up needing some extra time to clear immigration and get through to bag claim/customs/re-check. I'd save the $300 total for the change and chance it based on 2 above.

PS - You're gonna LOVE CPT!
1- initially there really was no other award seat availability on a shorter connection, whether it be in J or Y so we had that long layover. Then the new flights opened up award seats this week. After talking to 4 different united reps at different times (!!!!), I was able to get on the newly available shorter layover flight (will be a 2.5 hour layover in JNB now).

2- Lol, yes I have realized reading these forums that SAA is all over the place. But good to know that if by a miracle I clear customs super quickly, perhaps I can get on an even earlier flight.

Yes I am so excited for CPT. First time in Africa ever! We are spending a week in CPT, then a week on safari in Kruger, then 5 days in Rwanda doing the gorilla trek.
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