British Airways JNB - LVI Cancelled

We are booked to go on the Botswana, Zambia, South Africa trip Aug 28 this year.

Our air routing is ATL to JNB. Overnight JNB then British Airways JNB to LVI. Tauck picks us up at LVI.

Yesterday BA notifies us that the leg JNB to LVI has been cancelled and replaced by JNB to Victoria falls. Victoria falls is less than 10 miles from Livingstone, but in a different country (Zimbabwe). I contacted Tauck to ensure the would pick us up from Victoria Fall and was advised they would not!

So does anybody have any other options besides rebooking the entire itinerary from the states? All legs have already been purchased by the way

Comments

  • edited March 13

    I would cancel your flights and ask for your money back. Your tour will be cancelled so do not accept vouchers which they have to do by law....especially as they have you flying into another country. It’s just not worth your worry and effort to scout around trying to find flights. Then wait for Tauck to cancel your tour. Don’t forget, you are probably not the only person who has had a flight cancelation. If people can’t get there, then that’s another reason for Tauck to cancel. But this tour will not go!

  • I would book this type of trip thru Tauck whether it goes in August or at a later date. That way you will not be surprised by changes later but even if there are changes Tauck will take care of them.

  • Concur, get your money back and talk to Tauck air department.

    British, I know you're a voice of caution and certainly none of us - no matter when or where our tours are scheduled this year - should be counting on them. But you don't need to be a total Debbie downer about it either. Last year was painful with all tours canceled. This year I suspect is going to be more complicated and frustrating with some happening and others not. Let's leave it up to Tauck and hope they bring on more staff to help travelers make realistic plans that balance optimism and risk.

  • I tend to agree that there is probably a less than 50% chance that this trip will go. The BA cancellation maybe an indicator of their belief that the area will not be back to normal by then. But I want to stay in the game till Tauck cancels. So I will continue to look for options.

  • edited March 13

    First, under normal circumstances, your route would be fine- we did that in 2019. We flew Delta ATL to JNB. I booked a flight on SAA from JNB to LVI separately. We arrived at JNB in the early evening. It was great getting a full night's sleep at the airport InterContinental hotel. We had a normal wake-up the next morning and only a 2 minute walk to the terminal to catch our flight to Livingstone- we were refreshed and ready for a full day of pre-tour activities when we arrived in Livingstone! That was the first time we have ever taken an overnight layover.

    That being said, our SAA flight was late departing JNB and I'm not sure about the current status of SAA. I thought they declared bankruptcy and actually ceased operations? The other option we looked at was getting seats on the same BA/COMAIR flight which you were booked on which used to depart JNB a few minutes after the SAA flight. So if neither BA nor SAA are flying to LVI, it is likely no Tauck travelers will be. I don't know if Proflight makes that run. At the time, we also looked at other options, one of which was Ethiopian Air that arrives from either Addis Ababa or Nairobi- but that one went to Vic Falls. At that time Tauck wouldn't provide the ground transfer either. There are buses and shuttles, but you'll need to do a border crossing, so a private limmo, etc. might be a better option because some of the transfers do not actually cross the border- you exit the vehicle, walk across the bridge, go through border formalities, then catch a taxi or second vehicle- it is about a 2 min. ride to the nearby Royal Livingstone.

    At this point however, I would follow the advice from others above- call Tauck speak with Reservation Sales Agents and their air dept to see if the tour will even go and if they can can you flights. If they can't get you flights, the tour won't go. Personally, even though it is still 5 months out, I doubt it will go. The US should be doing well, but the rest of the world, not so much.

    From a positive outlook, there are only very few situations on the B,SA,Z tour where you might be in a group other than your fellow Taucktourians, TD, and a guide or two. The exceptions are the tiny gate waiting area at Kisane Airport- there were three flights worth of passengers packed in that small room, and Cape Town.

  • Thanks everybody! I just got my money back from BA, so That is a positive. I have already paid for the other legs from and back to the USA on Delta. So I think I will sit and wait and see if the tour goes. if it does, I will have a last minute scramble to find a route from JNB to LVI. I really don't want to can my Delta booking at the moment. I got a real good deal on the price and the connections mean a relatively short elapsed journey time form the US.

  • Alan S - "Taucktorians" - hilarious!

  • Virginia_Travelers
    2:55PM
    Alan S - "Taucktourians" - hilarious!

    I would like to take credit for that term. (Don't forget the second "u" :D ) I have used it for quite a few years now, but until I just did a search, I had forgotten its origin:

    Former forum regular and Taucktourian, Joyce Welch said this in a May 2014 thread , "One of the many benefits of traveling with Tauck is the kind of people that choose this travel company. Taucktourians (a name given to us by our local guide in Turkey on the "Treasures of the Aegean" tour) are nothing short of wonderful!

  • edited March 14

    rwilso15
    2:01PM
    I have already paid for the other legs from and back to the USA on Delta.

    What aircraft is Delta using now? We got stuck on an older 777 that had the old feet-towards-the- aisle herringbone seats. We had been hoping we would get one of their renovated 777's with the new D1 suite seats. The next trip we were sched for the new D1 suites but a few months before, Delta retired all 18 777's! All had just finished a two year program to refit them with the new suites! Go figure!

  • Just as Covid was setting in last year they were planning on ditching all the 777-200LR they used on the JNB route and were planning on going to the A350 but given all that has been going on in the travel industry, I am not sure. Obviously they were still using the -200s on the Hawaii route given recent events

  • Yes, on Saturday, October 31, 2020, Delta operated its final commercial Boeing 777 flight. According to one article, Delta spent $100 million updating the interiors of all 18 of their 777-200LR's and 777-200ER's! They parked all them in the desert due to efficiency- the A350-900s that will directly replace them burn 21% less fuel per seat! That is pretty significant. I stopped following the saga on Flyertalk so don't know what they plan to do- try to resell, scrap, etc. but they have no intention of reactivating them at this time. In light of recent 777 engine issues Delta's decision had at least one unanticipated benefit.

    I just looked up the DL204 ATL to JNB flights 23 thru 28 Aug and it looks like they are using the A350-900 which has D1 suites in business class. :) FYI, the ATL - JNB route is Delta's longest non-stop flight and the A350-900 is the only Delta aircraft capable. When we did B,SA,Z we had to fly CPT- AMS- home, but now it looks like Delta flies CPT - ATL non-stop using the A350-900! The aircraft actually flies a triangular route, ATL - JNB - CPT - ATL, but you can't book a domestic only JNB - CPT flight. I guess we did this tour a few years too early :D

    Delta is calling their A350-900 their "Flagship." We have been scheduled on it and the on the refurbished 767-400 which has almost-suites but w/o doors, but you know what has happened to those flights! :'(

    I hope you looked at flying home on different dates- it might be worth staying an extra day in Capetown- the Delta fares for this routing can differ by as much as $2500 per ticket depending on the day of the week you depart!

    Also, it looks like there may still be one operator that can get you from JNB to LVI- South African Airlink (private airline. Spun off from SAA??), with one stop at MPQ (Nelspruit- Kruger Mpumalanga Intl.) but I would wait awhile before even thinking about booking. Best of luck, I hope things work out.

  • Thanks for all your info. We are planning on using our gift of time to stay an extra day in CPT.
    FYI our routing and fares on Delta are: FLL-ATL-JNB going out and CPT-ATL-FLL coming back. Total fare for two persons:$1192. See why I want to keep these fares!!

  • That fare is for other than business class!

    We took the Gift of time plus a second pre-stay at the front end of the tour. There is lots of stuff to do in Livingstone- we walked with cats, rode elephants, flew in a microlight over the falls, and walked across the bridge to Zimbabwe. It is a toss up which is our favorite all time Tauck tour- K&T or B,SA,Z.

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