Being an American Airlines girl, I was a little concerned about traveling with another airline. I went ahead and created a Mileage Plus Account with United Airlines (One Star Alliance Partner) to keep the miles from the trip. It’s always good to have miles with more than one airline so that you are always racking up points.
Besides, what better opportunity to start a new account with a big trip. When we checked in at JFK, the agent at the counter was great. She added our mileage number to the trip. She warned us that during our layover, we would certainly need our two hours to get through customs, pick up our bags and re-check them and re enter through security since the airport distinguished international and domestic travel. We were grateful for the advice and I did my due diligence to look up the terminal map to get a mental game plan of our upcoming trek.
The flight attendants were great! As soon as we boarded, I scoped our area looking for a power outlet since my phone was halfway dead. To my shock, no power outlets!!! The airline only offers them on business class… sad, devastating day. Regardless, the 14-hour plane ride was smooth, they had plenty of in flight entertainment, but had to restart the system several time which took about 30 minutes a pop. Alas, we survived and landed safely.
Upon arriving, to my pleasant surprise, the Johannesburg terminal seemed small and simple. The customs line extended well past the entry point, we arrived with the masses! After about almost an hour in line, we were about 3/4 into it. We saw two people ask an agent about timing and he let them through. We overheard they had the same boarding time as us so we did the same and he was kind enough to let us pass. After customs, we had to pick up our check-in bags, take them back to re-check, hustle to the other side of the airport, go through security to our gate on the other side. Remember when I mentioned that I saw the map of the terminal and it looked small…. yeah… not small at all! We had just enough time to stop and the Wimpy in front of our gate for a “Take Away” juicy burger and fries to scarf down in the plane.
When we arrived at the airport we were greeted by our Indus Travel agent. After he confirmed we had all arrived, he gave us our trip itineraries and we headed to our bus. Since my phone was dead from our long stint in customers, I reached out to our driver who was kind enough to let me steal juice from the bus charger. We waited on the bus while they loaded our luggage and the crisp, fresh breeze was a refreshing delight after all our air travel. All of a sudden we heard an explosive pop! It sounded like a piece of large luggage had fallen and shattered. Startled, we all looked back to see that the back window of the bus had completely shattered into pieces! We had to wait for our replacement bus. About an hour or so later, the bus arrived and we were off to the reserve.