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Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

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Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Hi - I will traveling Zurich-Johannesburg on 2 separate tickets - Swiss and South African. Arriving into NBO on Swiss, will I be able to checkin for the SAA flight at a transfer desk without having to clear immigration? Note, I can't checkin online with SAA and just go to the transfer desk to collect a boarding pass because I am actually originating (in the US) before checkin would open (24 hrs before the flight I'm assuming).

I have the same question in reverse for the return - i.e. can I checkin with Swiss airside after arriving into NBO on SAA from JNB.

Many thanks!

10 replies to this topic
Naivasha, Kenya
posts: 843
reviews: 6
1. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

You have to clear immigration in order to collect your bags, so you will need a transit visa. When you get out of 'arrivals', you will need to turn left and follow the road round to get to the departure terminals, which are on the left of the road - its not far.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
posts: 13,937
reviews: 52
2. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Assuming you are travelling from the States to Europe and on to Africa in a single journey you should be able to have your bags checked through all the way to your destination, as you will have documentation giving all the flight number,they will then be automatically transferred to your all your connecting flight.

Since the fire last year all arriving flights at NBO are met by buses on the tarmac. There are separate buses for passengers whose final destination is Kenya and those who are transiting to connecting international flights. You will be in transit so will be taken to the Departures area by the Transit bus, rather than the Arrivals Hall. I haven't done and international transit through NBO but I would imagine there will be a Transit desk where you are dropped off in Departures.

If you cannot check your bags all the way through, I would ask for advice at checkin for the NBO flight, and also ask the aircrew to arrange for ground staff to meet you on the tarmac, there are usually a few around as you disembark, Pre-fire I have heard of people being assisted by ground crew to help locate their bags bags and arrange for them to be loaded on the connecting flight without having to go through Immigration. flight.

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 2,242
reviews: 153
3. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Also remember that you are one two Star Alliance Airlines. With two separate tickets, you will be able to thru check your luggage as Doff says. At the same time, I would be surprised if they cannot print your boarding passes in the US for the SA connecting flight.

If they can't print your boarding pass in the US, check in online while in transit at ZRH, or ask at any of the Swiss counters in ZRH for assistance.

posts: 3
4. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Many thanks for the replies. I will only have carry on, so bags will not be an issue. From what you have said, it sounds like I will need a transit visa and will clear immigration as a transit passenger. Can I assume that will mean a) I do not need a yellow fever vaccination and b) I will not have been considered as having entered Kenya when I get to immigration in South Africa (which would necessitate me showing proof of vaccination.

Also, how long can I be in transit to still be considered in transit? My wait time between scheduled flight times is 8 hours and 10 minutes.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
posts: 13,937
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5. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Normally transit passengers do not clear Immigration because they do not leave airside, and therefore technically do not enter the country.

You only need a transit visa if you leave the airport, they are for people entering Kenya by one point of entry, in this case the airport and travelling overland through Kenya en route to another country and leaving by a different Immigration point, normally taking less that 24 hours to do so, however they are also used by passengers who have a long lay over between flights and need / choose to leave the airport (therefore entering Kenya) and go to a hotel. restaurant, or whatever.

If you leave the airport you will be considered to have entered Kenya and will therefore need the Yellow Fever certificate for entry to SA, however the wording of SA's yellow fever policy is slightly ambiguous regarding transit, it says "South Africa requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors and citizens over 1 year of age travelling from an infected area or having been in transit through infected areas." I suspect it might be down to the individual Immigration Officer to interpret, whether Kenya is considered an 'infected area' and whether transiting purely in an airport constitutes 'being in transit through infected areas'

Edited: 10:15 am, June 17, 2014
posts: 3
6. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Thanks again. I just called the SA Embassy and the person I spoke to said I'd need the certificate if I've traveled through NBO, regardless of whether I left the airport.

nyc
posts: 13,965
7. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Andrew - That reply from SA Embassy reminds me of years back when boarding flight in NBO to the Seychelle/SEZ that does require YF inoc for entry if having been to an infected area... even those paxs on the inbound flight from London who never even deplaned in NBO, required that YF jab and proof.

To me, rather have the YF than deal with an SA agent on arrival at JNB and try to explain. ... they'd don't want to hear.

Washington DC...
posts: 2,927
reviews: 10
8. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Andrew, the rep at the SA Embassy didn't get it right. Toward the end of last year, SA relaxed their YF policy, which had required even in-transit passengers in YF countries to present a certificate. The revised policy specifically allows up to 12 hrs at the airport in-transit without the need of a certificate. See: dfa.gov.za/consular/…yellow_fever0807a.pdf

I recently traveled to SA via Addis. At JNB I had a certificate ready but the official examining my passport didn't ask to see it. I even mentioned I was arriving from Ethiopia, but that didn't pique the official's interest at all.

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 2,242
reviews: 153
9. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

Andrew, 8 hrs at Nairobi airport will be a real drag. Just one hour is a drag.

There are no lounges whatsoever to use, just a couple of coffee shops. As you arrive late at night, and your flight is not till the next afternoon, I would suggest you leave the airport and get a hotel for the night.

10. Re: Nairobi - checking in airside at transfer desk

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