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How early should we get to JNB for Int'l departure flight?

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Grand Rapids, MI
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How early should we get to JNB for Int'l departure flight?

I was wondering what the recommending time is to get to JNB for a Int'l flight depature? I was thinking 3 hours?

South Africa
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1. Re: How early should we get to JNB for Int'l departure flight?

Yes, three hours is perfect. If you are delayed a bit, you can get away with checking in 2 hours before the time, but aim for 3 hours. However, if coming off another flight for example from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg, to connect with your interntl flight home, I would suggest more than 3 hours, as it can take some time to get through customs and immigration formalities, plus the possibility of delays. Also, a long road trip can easily be misjudged or delayed by a flat tyre or traffic problems, so if driving a long distance to Johannesburg, perhaps aim for more than 3 hours.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: How early should we get to JNB for Int'l departure flight?

Connected thru Jo'burg airport 2 yrs ago. everything went smooth and we gave ourselves 2.5 hrs and it was plenty of time and still allowed us to check out some of the airport shopping.

Cape Town
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3. Re: How early should we get to JNB for Int'l departure flight?

I agree that if you are driving to JNB then you might want to "aim" for three hours before the flight, as the traffic on the Johannesburg freeways can be notoriously variable and it might take you an hour longer than you plan. You then still need 15 mins to drop off your car and get to the terminal. However your question was how long do you need at the airport. Since the recent upgrades to the terminals for the World Cup, there is really no need to be at the airport 3 hours before departure. Two hours is perfectly OK and even less will be fine. Additionaly, if you are going to the airport from the Sandton area take the new high speed Gautrain. A fraction of the time of driving or going by taxi, with a reliability of +/- less than one minute!

The past two times that I have been through JNB onto an International flight (transferring from domestic) took me a total of around 45 mins each time from landing to being at the departure gate for my next flight.

Of course I always check in on-line the night before. So the most I need to do is just go to the fast bag drop and drop my bags - bypassing all the main queues. However if you are connecting from another flight you will normally be able to check your bags through to your destination and get your boarding cards when you check-in for your first flight. In this case just go through passport control and security (around 20 mins) and straight to the departure gate. International flights are usually called for boarding around 40 mins before scheduled departure time and the gate closes 30mins before take-off.

Finally I should point out that if you are transferring from another International Flight you definitely don't need to go through immigration into South Africa - or customs. Your baggage will be labelled through to your destination. Just follow the international transfer signs in the terminal. If you already have your boarding passes go straight to the departure gate - or the lounge. If not go to the International Transfer Desk and pick up your boarding passes there. An hour or 90 mins max is fine. Of course, as anywhere in the world, you might want to factor in additional time, for if your incoming flight is delayed for whatever reason - but that is your decision. Worth checking the on-time performance of the particular route on sites like : http://www.flightstats.com/go/Home/home.do

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4. Re: How early should we get to JNB for Int'l departure flight?

That is nice to hear it's improved. I was there 3 years ago and oh my...it was a cluster F (excuse my language). I was in Jberg one night and to get onto an international flight to Zimbabwe was hideous long line and no one seemed to know which line was for what.

Has the luggage been good on transfers?

3 years ago, 1/4 people I met did not get their luggage when they were transferring through Jberg - didn't matter what airline - (British airways, SAA.


5. Re: How early should we get to JNB for Int'l departure flight?

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