SAA to SAA International Connections at JNB

Old Apr 12, 19, 7:48 am
  #1  
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SAA to SAA International Connections at JNB

Later this year, I will be arriving in JNB on SA 265, which is scheduled to arrive at 08:15. I'll then be departing for Ndola at 10:20 AM. While both flights will be on SAA, they will be on separate tickets (the first purchased through Air Canada, the second direct from SAA). I called SAA today and the agent seemed skeptical; something about having to check-in at a desk by 9:30 AM (something separate from checking in through the app). She also said that because my tickets are separate, I will not be able to do a standard connection, but will have to go fully through customs and immigration.

My question is, is 2 hours and 5 minutes enough to make that connection?

(For what it's worth, I'll be traveling without checked bags.)
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Old Apr 12, 19, 4:29 pm
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If you're traveling without checked bags you'll be able to go through international transfers and get to the SAA international transfer desk. Should be fine. Also, if you're able to do an online checkin then even easier.
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Old Apr 14, 19, 10:09 pm
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Your bags need to be checked in at 1 hour 10 min before the flight. If you have luggage, you will have to claim your luggage and go thru customs you will need to rush and hurry up .
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Old Apr 14, 19, 10:10 pm
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Just saw you have no checked bags. You will be ok .
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Old Apr 15, 19, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by TheCanuckian View Post
She also said that because my tickets are separate, I will not be able to do a standard connection, but will have to go fully through customs and immigration.
If you can get your boarding pass for your onward flight to Ndola before you board SA 265 I don't see why you would need to go through customs and immigration. There is security/document check between intl -> intl connections so you would need a BP. I seem to remember some sort of SAA desk prior to the security but who knows if they can check you in and print a BP.
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Old Apr 16, 19, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
If you can get your boarding pass for your onward flight to Ndola before you board SA 265 I don't see why you would need to go through customs and immigration. There is security/document check between intl -> intl connections so you would need a BP. I seem to remember some sort of SAA desk prior to the security but who knows if they can check you in and print a BP.
I know I've transited there once before. I just don't remember much about it. I do have a transit stamp in my passport which would seem to show I passed through something, but I doubt it was full immigration or anything like that.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 4:56 am
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
If you can get your boarding pass for your onward flight to Ndola before you board SA 265 I don't see why you would need to go through customs and immigration. There is security/document check between intl -> intl connections so you would need a BP. I seem to remember some sort of SAA desk prior to the security but who knows if they can check you in and print a BP.
No, you don't need a BP for the document check on int'l-int'l transit. I'm not even sure that they ask for proof of your ongoing flight, I don't remember, but for sure I've checked in/got BP at the transit desks beyond the document check.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by Stewie Mac View Post
No, you don't need a BP for the document check on int'l-int'l transit. I'm not even sure that they ask for proof of your ongoing flight, I don't remember, but for sure I've checked in/got BP at the transit desks beyond the document check.
OK, great. So you get off your inbound flight, pass through a kind of passport check, then go on to security and back to the gates. Is that correct? (And get your boarding pass past the passport check if you donít have it yet? I think this is what the agent on the phone said must be done 90 minutes in advance or you may lose your seat.)
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Old Apr 18, 19, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by TheCanuckian View Post
OK, great. So you get off your inbound flight, pass through a kind of passport check, then go on to security and back to the gates. Is that correct? (And get your boarding pass past the passport check if you donít have it yet? I think this is what the agent on the phone said must be done 90 minutes in advance or you may lose your seat.)
Sounds about right. You also might be able to check in on your phone through the SAA app or online through the SAA website.

SAA website indicated online check-in closes 90 minutes before but mobile check-in 40 minutes before (seems strange that they're different, but anyway). Generally, SAA check-in for international flights is 50 minutes so that is the point that they close the flight and you risk losing your seat, however, if you're checked-in by this time you're fine as long as you get to the gate 20 minutes before departure.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by evanb View Post
Sounds about right. You also might be able to check in on your phone through the SAA app or online through the SAA website.

SAA website indicated online check-in closes 90 minutes before but mobile check-in 40 minutes before (seems strange that they're different, but anyway). Generally, SAA check-in for international flights is 50 minutes so that is the point that they close the flight and you risk losing your seat, however, if you're checked-in by this time you're fine as long as you get to the gate 20 minutes before departure.
Thank you. The customer service rep said I need to do a different kind of check-in within 90 minutes--as in, actually have stood at a desk and let them know I'm physically present in the airport. But I'm not sure I've ever seen an airline force that, especially when people are making connections.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 10:27 am
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Regardless of the specific local procedures, you do not have a connection at all but two separate tickets. If your inbound flight is delayed to the extent that you do not present yourself in time for boarding of your second flight, all segments on that second ticket will be cancelled leaving you to buy a new ticket at walk-up prices. Just something to be aware of.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Regardless of the specific local procedures, you do not have a connection at all but two separate tickets. If your inbound flight is delayed to the extent that you do not present yourself in time for boarding of your second flight, all segments on that second ticket will be cancelled leaving you to buy a new ticket at walk-up prices. Just something to be aware of.
Yes, I'm aware of that. It was a risk, but it was the only booking option that was really feasible.
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Old Apr 18, 19, 1:21 pm
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Ok, good luck!
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Old Apr 20, 19, 12:44 am
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Originally Posted by TheCanuckian View Post
Thank you. The customer service rep said I need to do a different kind of check-in within 90 minutes--as in, actually have stood at a desk and let them know I'm physically present in the airport. But I'm not sure I've ever seen an airline force that, especially when people are making connections.
I find that requirement distinctly odd - Iíd go so far as to say itís a completely made-up rule. At best a misunderstanding by the agent.

If you were to clear immigration and customs and then re-enter via security, at no stage would you present yourself at an airline desk. The same goes for any non-connecting pax flying without luggage who have issued their boarding passes on line or using self-service check in. JNB does not have conformance rules like T5 at LHR. And even if they did, the scanning of your boarding pass at security (be that at flight connections or normal security) sends the message that you are airside.
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Old Apr 23, 19, 11:55 am
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I've done this connection several times (though to Lusaka, not Ndola)... It'll be straightforward since you have no checked bags. If you did have bags though, I've found AC to be mostly helpful with tagging through to final destinations, even when on a separate ticket (have experience with them doing it for separate tickets on ET & SAA).

Seems like you got the steps sorted, but just for clarity:

Follow the int'l connection signs - will lead you to a narrow corridor with a passport check (this does get backed up at times, but moves fine). If I don't have my boarding pass, I usually just have a printout of my onward ticket or have it open on my phone in case they want to check. Even with a big line, not usually more than a 30 minute wait.

You'll then continue through a corridor and see a transit area with transit desks - if you need your onward boarding pass you can get it here (I would actually see if you can get it at your original check-in with Air Canada... sometimes they're able to do this for you... if not, you could try in Munich too.... but honestly, it might just be easier to get at the transit desk in JNB)... This may have been what the customer service rep was referring to - there's several transit desks in the int'l-int'l transit area, and i've never seen a line there.

Then you'll go upstairs to a security area for regular security screening (it's separate from the regular security section, and thus wait time is minimal... 10 minutes at the most) and you'll be on your way. Ndola usually boards down from the bussing gates at the far end from where you'll enter.

Assuming an on-time arrival, you'll probably find yourself with at least 30-45 minutes to kill before they start boarding (they are usually quite prompt with boarding times from the bus gates)
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