The Agony Factor - Travel to Africa

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by arizona, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. arizona

    arizona SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I fly out of Phoenix AZ for my flights and this last May I flew to J'berg from Phoenix and used a travel agent. The flight was from Phoenix to Dulles in D.C. by United, and South Africa Airways to J'burg
    with the layover in Daktar for over an hour where the self loading cargo get sprayed down for some terrible unnamed danger and on to J'burg, coach all the way. The return was the same stop in Daktar
    (sprayed again) into Dulles, to Cleveland to Phoenix. Connection were tight and had to run through a few airports.
    I am planning a trip next September flying from Phoenix to Windhoek, Namiba or Maun Botswanna.

    I checked with a couple of African specility travel agents and got one response that had me going to Newark airport, tranferring by grond to JFK NY and non stop to J'berg, and on to either Maun or Windoek
    this required an overnight in either J'berg or NY.
    The other was a repeat of the May flight with a South Africa Airways.

    I was doing some research on line with Kayak, and all the other site getting ton of results to wade through.

    Today with another attempt I found a site, Hipmonk.com that sorts flights by price, duration, and something no one else does: by the Agony factor. This is based on a combination of price duration and number of stops.
    here are my results:
    Hipmunk: Better Flight Search and Hotel Booking

    this IMHO is a far more important chart than just price, and it's easy to figure out.

    Question I have is: looks like the best deal is British Airways all the way from Phoenix to Windhoek with only a stop in London and J'burg. anyone know of any drawbacks to that flight ovr PHX to NY, to J'berg to Windehoek?
  2. ikeda

    ikeda AH Veteran

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    Stay away from London if at all possible.
    You might try PHX to Houston (IAH) to Frankfort, and then to Windhoek. You can check your bags and guns all the way from IAH to Windhoek, possibly all the way from PHX to Windhoek by using that routing.
  3. arizona

    arizona SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    thanks, that will work also with a leg between Houston and Phoenix, I was looking at that London route only because it was one airline the whole way, bags should checked thru, I would think, but that's why I'm asking, thanks again for the info.
    John
  4. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Have you looked at Atlanta to Joberg
  5. Ontario Nimrod

    Ontario Nimrod AH Member

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    A few years ago I was able to fly from Toronto to London to Windhoek with my luggage checked through all the way. Worked out great, but I understand now that SAA won't allow you to do that anymore, and you will now have to check your guns through customs in Joburg, which can be not-fun if you aren't ready for it. By the way, given the recent news out of Botswana, you may not be going there next September!
  6. Lure Jensen

    Lure Jensen AH Member

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    Delta has a direct flight from Atlanta to Joburg.
  7. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    DO NOT TRY LONDON You won't be able to get your guns even on the flight. No airline that I know of will do it. My partner tried it last April and came up with the same end point- NO WAY. Now, I'm retired airline and I have settled on Atlanta direct Joberg on Delta. They have treated me very well in coach all 4 trips I have used then on. The seats are comfortable although the next time I will pay the extra $100/leg for the extra leg room and recline coach seats. I live in Page so I go through Las Vegas to Atlanta and then Joberg. I plan on the first flight in the morning out of Las Vegas so I have about 6-7 hours in ATL. I go to the Red Roof Inn right on the
    airport in ATL for a nice nap and shower before I show up 2 1/2 hrs early for my joberg flight. There is good food right next to the Red Roof. I have already checked my guns all the way through to joberg from LAS. 17 hrs after take off I'm in Joberg going to the Afton House(they meet me every time at the door to customs and help me get my rifles from the Police station). A good nights sleep, a fantastic breakfast at Afton and off to SA Airways for the flight to Windhoek. That's how I do it now after 5 African hunts. BTW, on the way back DO NOT schedule your connect time from Windhoek to Joberg for less than 3 hrs in Joberg. Just don't do it. SA airways has a problem with on time from Windhoek and if you get there after 1 hr before the USA flight you're sunk. You can't make the flight. Be sure you have a boarding pass for Delta when you leave Windhoek or else you will have a problem if Delta check in in the Int'l term is closed. It closes 1 hr before the flight to the USA. This hs been the best least trouble way I have found. I gave up on SAA when they went to Airbus airplanes because they couldn't make it nonstop like they did when they had 747s and I don't like to fly Airbus airplanes anyway. It's a personal pilot thing and I'm even licensed to fly them. Hope this helps
  8. 35bore

    35bore AH Legend

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    Sound advise,,, It was only about $150 xtra per seat, but, well worth it for no layovers. No way will I book a flight through Dakar. ATL to joberg, no muss no fuss.
  9. Hank2211

    Hank2211 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I hate to be contrary, but I've flown through London (Heathrow) the last two summers on route to South Africa with guns, and I've never had a problem. I fly Air Canada to London and South African from London to Jo'burg. Guns checked through. Never had a delay or question - guns just go. Before that I flew to Zim via London and again, no problems, but that's getting old by now . . . Could it be an airline rather than airport thing?

    I will say this - for a Canadian, going via the US is really not an option - I can get a permit to take my guns to hunt in the US, but transiting is setting yourself up for a real problem if a flight is delayed or you run into a difficult CBP officer . . .
  10. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    ARIZONA,

    I know that Mark Young, a member here actually prefers to fly through London. But I believe he does so starting with British Airways to London and leaves London on British Airways. I do believe that some of the hesitation here is that depending on the airlines and what agreements exist (or don't) is where there can be a problem. If there isn't a handling agreement then the British gov't steps in and it gets to be a pain in the rear as well as expensive. I think if I were going to go through London it would be like Mark does it with BA and BA only. You can get a flight directly from Phoenix to London on BA, I've had relatives from the UK come here on that flight. I'd look up Mark and send him a PM to get his take on it.

    I'm not sure of the agents you've spoke to, but I would only deal with those who specialize in getting hunters with weapons to Africa. Lori Ginn with Travel Express (an AH sponsor), Gracy Travel or Travel with Guns are those I'd check with.

    I also know a number of folks who've gone to Windhoek do so by way of Frankfurt. It splits the flight roughly into even halves and gives you a day in Germany to get used to the time change.

    Here's Mark's profile page: http://www.africahunting.com/members/mark-h-young.html
  11. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The travel part can be brutal. I fly from Seattle to NY or Atlanta or DC depending on how its set up so that adds at least 8 hours to the trip. On my first trip it was a nightmare as we left Seattle in a snowstorm from a closed airport, flew to Dallas, Atlanta (plane had problems), NY, Amsterdam, south with stops in Vienna, Khartoum and landing in Arusha. This is back when smoking on planes was still OK and I had only quit a few years beforehand and was still a little hard to get along with around smokers! Another funner is Sea to NY-London-Joberg-Gaberone-Maun- then bush flight to the Okavango! Much flying!!!
  12. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    as has been said if you go with BA all the way through london and onwards there should be no problems. the baggage and gun cases are ticketed to your destination , and you dont need transit permits etc. you have to inform BA i think its 72 hours before you travel with the make, type, cal of rifle and amount of ammunition, or give that info to your travel agent and they can do it for you. if you go onto their website ba.com you can find the info on it. i think the problems associated with heathrow were back in the days when the baggage handlers moved the gun cases around and could do what they wanted. these days the security company takes them, stores them, and then takes them to the next flight. there is always the chance of cock ups but that will happen anywhere. i think the airlines need a licence to carry firearms into and out of the uk, and maybe the problem is that certain airlines dont have this. BA and virgin do.
  13. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    I must reply in that I was refering to using US carriers through London. I tried to help my friend (with my airline background) by calling most everyone I could think of and got the same answer- we won't take guns through London. I have no experience with foreign carriers nor have I traveled FROM Canada overseas. It seems that the British will allow weapons to go through with the correct proceedures being followed but most every US airline has had problems and THEY are the ones that get fined so they seem to have stopped all firearms going to London. My friend was using "miles" on American (using BAto fly) and went through London and BA would not allow the rifle to go through London (This happened this last April) so he sold his rifle to me, I got the 4457 in my name and he used "my" rifle in Namibia. I do not profess to being a travel agent(Lori is far better than I am at that) this is what I have learned in the last year - your milage may vary.
    BTW, when I take a nap in ATL at the hotel I set 3 alarms, my phone, the desk clock and a wake up call :)
  14. arizona

    arizona SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Guys, thanks so much for the input and advise, that's what makes this site so great!
  15. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I agree arizona, the Dakar experience is overrated...I have done it twice, don't know if I'd want it make it three times!
  16. GSTONE

    GSTONE AH Veteran

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    This year I flew from Reno-Denver-Dulles...and the Dulles airport shut down because of tornadoes over Dulles and NY. Delayed long enough that we missed connecting flight via SAA to Johannesburg. Only one flight per day...and we could not get tickets until second day. Because of this, I lost two days on my hunt! I have just signed up for a hunt next year for Elephant and Leopard in Zimbabwe, and hope to find a better way to Johannesburg. I used United Air the last two years, and almost had the same thing happen the year before. Hoping Lori can give some other options! Any ideas out there?
  17. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    I use Delta from Atlanta to Joburg non-stop 17 hrs. I start in Las Vegas. I plan a night in Jburg at the Afton House and then to Windhoek the next day. I don't like the Airbus (personal after flying them as a pilot for several years). Coach Extra on Delta will be my next trip. Having done it 5 times I'm comfortable with this system. I also plan on arriving in Atlanta early in the morning and get a room at the airport hotel for a nap and a meal before the evening flight to Africa. It's not just the destination-plan the trip to enjoy the travel. This way the agony factor goes way down.
  18. GSTONE

    GSTONE AH Veteran

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    Thanks for the information. I don't really mind the flight over and back, but no room for any delays. Also, entry coming back into Dulles has been close for time with the new Homeland Security procedures. I was really disappointed in losing two days this year, but still filled my hunt...but I agree that enjoying the travel would be nice for a change!:)
  19. Grady

    Grady AH Senior Member

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  20. arizona

    arizona SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    As an update, as I was looking at a flight from Phoenix AZ to Windhoek on British Airways, I checked with BA to make sure I could check a firearm all the way to my destination if all flights were BA, whatI found was Phoenix to Heathrow to J Burg was fine the next leg , J'Burg to Windhoek was to be on a BA regional airline, Comair of ZA. I sent an email to them to confirm and received the following email response:
    to me


    Hi John


    Thanks for your email.


    Unfortunately, Comair Limited which is a franchise partner for British Airways international will no longer be transporting firearms as of the 28 February 2013. This includes all of our routes and thus we will not be able to accept your firearm on our Windhoek flights.


    The only airline in South Africa that does allow for firearms is South African Airways.


    Kind regards



    Leanne Siebrits

    Customer Relations Team Leader


    T: +27 11 921 0137 | F: +27 865 01 83 90

    e: leanne.siebrits@comair.co.za

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