Lie-flat Business Class Fares Africa to Canada $400 One-way – Part I – How to transfer without a visa (TWOV) in Sudan (Khartoum, KRT) Airport
This article is part of a trip review for a Business Class mistake fare originally found by Mighty Travels Premium.
For my return from Africa, I had booked a Business Class ticket for under $400 from Sudan to Toronto. These were available for several days in December 2018 to Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto with a number of different carriers.
Now Sudan is a bit of an odd beast. It got itself on the list of the initial ‘Trump Travel Ban’. However, relations have been thawing with the US – quite a bit recently.
Sudan is an orthodox Muslim but it isn’t a rich country and security is to be not taken lightly. No wonder it can pose a threat (more likely from external sources that roam freely in Sudan that any Sudanese domestic terror threat).
Initially, I really wanted to see Sudan – but hang on you need a visa first. In fact US passport holders can obtain a visa from the consulate in Washington D.C.. There is no easy Visa on Arrival procedure. For many US passports a letter to the consulate is enough to pre-arrange a visa on arrival for $100.
I wasn’t gonna deal with that and decided to just try my hand at the Transit without Visa (TWOV).
I changed my tickets so that I’d have just two hours in between. But luck would have it and the airlines changed their schedules making the two-hour layover a 12-hour layover. Oops!
The Khartoum airport website is a bit vague but does give the option for a visa-free transfer. The checked TIMATIC which also confirms that a layover of 12 hours should be fine. I did print out paper copies of the websites/ TIMATIC and my onward ticket and wasn’t sure if this would work as planned.
My connection flight was from Addis Abeba to Khartoum. Ethiopian Airlines is either very stringent with Visas or does not bother at all. My check-in agent was of the latter variant and kept typing away and calling the supervisor. Eventually, he shared his screens with me and told me that I could not get a boarding pass because my layover was longer than 6 hours. I presented my ‘evidence’ and repeated it nicely and firmly to his supervisors and to my surprise both accepted it just like that. A minute later I had my boarding pass in hand.
The flight above Northern Ethiopia was beautiful over the Rift Valley and towards a much greener Sudan.
There are two terminals and there is no ‘airside’ connection and even if it would exist I doubt you can use it. Instead, the immigration staff takes your passport and escorts you to a small waiting room. The room is fine if it wouldn’t be for the annoying mosquitoes. Also there is no food and the water dispenser looks more than a bit suspicious.
However, Sudanese (and Islamic) hospitality is real here. Every hour another officer (yes all with shoulder tags) would come by and inquire about my wellbeing. They all seemed genuinely concerned and were as friendly as it gets. I mentioned my hunger and got two bottles of water and two croissants. I was hoping for some protein and rice but that was not to be.
Eventually, the Visa-on-Arrival officer would come by and ask me if I’d want the ‘visa special’ and see Sudan! He could not waive the visa fee of $150 but no consulate visit or authorization was required. Such impromptu visa-on-arrival is common in Africa but it’s a little tricky to count on them and you still need to convince the airline check-in agents. Again some are tougher than others.
About 2.5 hours before my flight my escort picked me up at the waiting room. I felt like a VIP and got my own bus and we went to another terminal and must have cleared four different security check in reverse order (we did not get checked, just walked the other way). He accompanied me to check-in and through immigration (since I had no immigration to clear).
It all seemed a bit random and it would be easier if there would be a terminal infrastructure for this transit.
There is also no Internet at the transit lounge (but there is an outlet to plug into to charge devices).
I think the solution is pretty decent given the constraints of immigration law and the inability to check you into another flight easily. Still I wish I could have ordered some food and had had some fast Wifi.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
This post has been tagged with: Addis Abeba to Khartoum | ethiopian airlines | Khartoum airport | Northern Ethiopia | Sudan | Transit without Visa | Travel Sudan | TWOV | TWOV Sudan