Hi Point Hacks Community, I’ve been lucky enough to get 2 separate tickets on points for:
Sydney to Johannesburg (Arriving 4:10pm) Qantas
Johannesburg to Paris (Departing 6:50pm) Air France
However, I’ve realized that I’ll have to go through immigration, get luggage and go through customs before rechecking bags and doing immigration again all in the space of 2 hours. Plus, I’ll have my daughter with me.
Am I taking on too much risk or should I try rebook to Johannesburg to Amsterdam (departing 11:10pm) instead?
I’ll have to do it all over again for the next flight to Bergen too - first world problems of the highest order!!
Well done on getting those reward flights! In the current climate, using Qantas points to fly to Europe via Jo’burg is a great option!
In my opinion, a 2 hour 40 minute connection on separate tickets is too big a risk. I MIGHT do it if I really had no other option … but you do have another option, viz., the later flight to Amsterdam. I’d take the Amsterdam flight if I were you.
If the Amsterdam flight isn’t possible and you’re stuck with the 6:50pm flight to Paris, at least look at getting your luggage checked all the way through and staying in the international transit area if possible (ie. not having to clear customs and immigration in South Africa). I don’t know what the relevant rules are in SA regarding immigration but at the very least you should ask nicely when you check in at Sydney whether your bags could be checked through all the way to Europe. Qantas would have what’s called an “interline agreement” with Air France, so it could be possible if the check-in agent in Sydney is agreeable.
I would show the check-in agent your ticket to Paris, explain your situation, and (forgive the horrible grammar), I’d ask something like “Would it be possible for you to interline my luggage all the way through to Paris?”. On paper, the answer will be “no”, but there’s no harm at all in asking nicely.
On the other hand, by far the best option would be to take the later flight. The absolute minimum I’d personally be comfortable with on separate tickets is 4 hours.
Thanks @sixtyeight - I have changed to the Amsterdam flight. I’m very fortunate to have found these flights and be wrestling with the first world problem of choosing between two business class flights! Though I did want to try out Air France’s new business class cabin… The 2-2-2 seating configuration on KLM is probably better anyway for my daughter and I so we can see each other more easily.
As we’re going to Bergen and there’s a connecting flight on KLM at 11:45am after we land at 10:15am. Since it’s KLM for both Johannesburg-Amsterdam and Amsterdam-Bergen, I’m hoping this will make it easier for the checking-through of the luggage in Johannesburg despite it being on a separate ticket?
Hi again @jlui
I absolutely think you did the right thing by changing to the later flight, and well done again for thinking outside the square and working out that you could get to Europe via SA with Qantas points. I’d never thought of that!
However, I can see one more problem…
You’ll be clearing customs and immigration in Amsterdam (not Bergen). When you enter the Schengen area, you clear customs and immigration at the first airport you fly into, not your final destination. Clearing customs/immigration may take five minutes, or it may take an hour and a half.
I’ve never done a non-Schengen-to-Schengen transfer in Amsterdam, so I have no idea how efficiently it’s done. But no matter how efficiently it’s done, I would never give myself a 90-minute transfer on separate tickets: it’s just too short.
Maybe people with more experience of entering the Schengen area and/or transiting at AMS will chip in to this discussion, but my strong recommendation is that you catch a later flight to Bergen. If that’s not possible, stay overnight in Amsterdam and fly to Bergen the next day (my wife and I stayed at the Hampton by Hilton at Amsterdam Airport last year and I recommend it!).
Sorry to be a wet blanket but I reckon your chances of making the connecting flight to Bergen as things stand are no greater than 60%.
Really depends on the time you are travelling. During peak season, things do move a bit more slowly. The airport is well laid out so you shouldn’t have any issues just following the signs. In the off season though I could get through in around 20 minutes from one gate (non-schengen to Schengen).
I was hoping you’d jump in @djtech !
So would you do a 90-minute transfer on the same airline (KLM) but separate tickets or would you advise @jlui to delay their flight to Bergen?
If travelling in the off season, I would be happy to risk it as even if they aren’t willing to through check luggage, there would still be enough time to recheck, etc…
I would avoid doing it if its peak travel season. There’s quite a few daily flights to bergen from schipol, maybe an early afternoon flight would be better especially with young children in tow. You really don’t want to add extra stress into the process.
Thanks @sixtyeight - wet blanket indeed haha!
@djtech - I was looking at the 11:45am flight from Amsterdam to Bergen (which is the 90 min transfer) but may as well take the 3:15pm flight instead. By the time, I get out through immigration and customs, pick up the luggage, it probably will only be a couple of hours before I can check in the baggage for the Bergen flight. Unless I can get them to check it through from Johannesburg to Bergen and then we will have more time to possibly catch up with friends.
We land 20th June so it’ll be peak season.