Baggage Allowance

Permitted baggage allowance:

  • Economy Class: 1 piece maximum weight 23 kg, max. dimensions 158 cm
  • Business Class: 2 pieces maximum weight 32 kg each, max. dimensions 158 cm

Excess baggage:

  • Excess baggage rate from Frankfurt/Munich to South Africa is EUR 150,- in Economy Class and EUR 150,- in Business Class, per additional bag of 158 cm, per bag that exceeds the maximum dimensions of 203 cm and per bag that exceeds the checked baggage allowance. If the checked baggage falls into more than one of the above categories passengers will be charged for each one. From Frankfurt/Munich to Africa (excluding South Africa) excess baggage will be EUR 180,- in Economy Class and EUR 180,- in Business Class.
  • Excess baggage rate from the UK to South Africa is GBP 50.00 in Economy Class and GBP 90.00 in Business class. From the UK to Africa (excluding South Africa) excess baggage will be GBP 60.00 in Economy Class and GBP 90.00 in Business Class.

  • In the case of a journey including multiple airlines, the excess baggage charges from the most significant carrier of that journey will apply.

Important Note:
The baggage allowance is limited to 3 pieces of excess baggage in addition to their free check-in allowance. Any pieces in addition to the 3 will need to be sent via cargo at the applicable cargo rates. Please also see unaccompanied baggage.

The full baggage policy may be found here.

Sporting Equipment

In addition to the free baggage allowance, SAA will accept an extra sports bag to check in of up to 23 kgs free of charge.

Eligible sporting equipment includes:

  • Angling
  • Archery
  • Athletic: Track and Field
  • Baseball/ Softball
  • Basketball
  • Bowls
  • Cricket
  • Cycling: 200cm – 100cm – 75cm (excluding 1st - 8th March 2014)
  • Diving: scuba equipment (please note that the tank must be empty)
  • Fencing (bag not exceeding 200cm)
  • Football/Soccer
  • Golf
  • Hockey: Field and Ice
  • Horse riding (saddle must be wrapped & stirrups must be tied)
  • Lacrosse
  • Netball
  • Motor-cycle gear (protective riding gear and helmet; motor-cycle to be sent as cargo)
  • Parachuting: equipment, including helmet
  • Polo Cross: riding helmet, stick and balls
  • Rock Climbing: equipment including helmets, rope bags, climbing harnesses  and crash pads / bouldering mats if not exceeding 200 cm  in length
  • Rugby
  • Sailing: equipment including – wet/dry sailing suits, life jackets, water boots, ropes, blocks, pulleys, selected tools, water bottle (empty), sails (folded or rolled - tube must not be longer than 200cm
  • Shooting/hunting
    -  Firearms and ammunition – subject to correct transport and safety procedures being followed
    -  Ammunition – up to 5kg when packed separately due to regulations will be accepted free of charge.
  • Snow/water ski equipment
  • Surfboards/kite surfing/paragliding: smaller than 200cm
  • Swimming
  • Tennis/squash
  • Ten pin bowling
  • Volleyball

Customers must declare their sporting goods in advance via your GDS, the SAA Service Center in Frankfurt or the latest on arrival at the SAA check-in desks.

Please note that the sporting equipment allowance is available on all SAA operated flights. It excludes our codeshare partners and the following SA flight series 1000-2999 and 8000-8999.


Bicycles (up to 23kg) will be accepted free of charge as part of the free sporting equipment allowance. Please note this offer is exempt for travel around the Cape Argus bicycle ride.

Bicycles must be securely packed. Special boxes and bags are obtainable from bicycle outlets and associations. It is the passenger’s responsibility to make sure the cycle is securely packed to prevent damage, South African Airways accepts no responsibility for the damage of bicycles if they are not securely packed in the special boxes or bags. The box/bag must be clearly marked with the passengers contact details.

Handlebars must be turned parallel with the frame, pedals removed or turned inward, tyres deflated and the seat must be lowered. All electronic equipment must be removed and transported separately. Please note the carriage of bicycle tyres in the overhead lockers on board the aircraft is not permitted.

All Carbon Dioxide cylinders used to inflate bicycle tyres will be treated as Dangerous Goods and must be shipped as Cargo.

The opening of bicycle boxes / bags may be conducted as a security measure.

Cabin Baggage

The general rule for cabin baggage is one piece for Economy and two pieces for Business Class. A handbag, a slim line laptop bag or camera bag can be taken onboard in addition.

  • Maximum weight of any one piece of hand baggage is 8Kgs on all SAA flights.

  • Maximum dimensions for any one piece of hand baggage is 52 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm (L x W x H). Total dimensions 115cms.

  • Allowance for Business Class passengers: 2 bags at 8kgs each, the total combined weight of all articles must not exceed 16kgs

  • Allowance for Economy Class passengers: 1 bag which must not exceed 8kgs in weight

  • Bags exceeding these limits cannot be carried on board aircraft exiting the United Kingdom and must be checked in; where baggage exceeds the limits, passengers will be asked to return to check-in to have these bags placed in the hold.

The restrictions, for liquids and/or gel, whereby liquid items may only be carried in containers holding up to 100mls and in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag continue to apply.

Firearms Policy

In addition to the free baggage allowance shown on the passenger’s ticket, up to 23 kg of shooting/hunting equipment, (Firearms and ammunition) is permitted at no additional charge, subject to the correct transportation/safety procedures being followed.

  • Firearms and/or ammunition must not be packed in checked luggage, it must be declared at check-in and taken through by security to the secure hold on the aircraft.
  • Guns and ammunition must be packed separately, in individual boxes.
  • The boxes used must be secure and locked throughout the journey. It is preferable for items to be packed in their original manufacturer’s box.
  • Passengers may carry up to 5 kg ammunition.

Free baggage allowance

Link to Baggage Allowance

Lost baggage

Lost baggage must be reported immediately upon arrival at the lost baggage counter at the respective airport.

Musical Instruments

We are unable to provide a special free baggage allowance for the carriage of these goods.

As cabin baggage:
Portable musical instruments may be carried in the cabin of the aircraft as approved cabin baggage under the following conditions.

Please note that guitars cannot be carried as cabin baggage they must be checked in.

These apply to all classes except where specified:

  • The total of the three outside dimensions (L plus B plus H) of the instrument must not exceed 115 cm. When a carrying case is used, the dimensions of the carrying case are to be considered. If the instrument or the case has an irregular shape, the largest dimension must be taken to arrive at the overall total.

  • The shape and size should fit under the seat in front of the passenger or in the overhead lockers. The weight of the instrument inclusive of the carrying case must not exceed 8kgs.

  • Musical instruments, which conform to the above size and weight limitations, will be considered as one item of cabin baggage. Therefore, passengers travelling in Business Class may carry only one more item of cabin baggage with dimensions not exceeding 52 x 40 x 23 cm. Passengers travelling in Economy Class will not be allowed to carry any other cabin bag.

  • It is highly recommended that the musical instrument be carried or packed in a custom built carrying case to protect it from damage. If it is not carried in a carrying case, the instrument must not have any sharp corners, which might damage other cabin bags or the aircraft panels.

On extra seat(s) in the cabin:

  • Passengers may carry musical instruments in the cabin of the aircraft on a seat(s). They should notify SAA of their intention to carry a musical instrument on an extra seat at the time of reservation. The cost of the additional seat will then be calculated.

  • Information regarding size/weight must be provided and the extra seat must be booked and paid for. It is not acceptable for the instrument to occupy an empty seat, which has not been paid for.

  • No more than 75 kg may be carried under this arrangement per seat blocked. The passenger will not receive any additional free checked baggage allowance for the purchase of the extra seat.

  • If the customer does not wish to carry the musical instrument in the cabin, it can travel in the hold as checked baggage. Any additional weight will be charged at the normal excess baggage rate.

Instruments & methods of carriage:
The following guideline indicates how certain musical instruments can be transported. The final decision depends on the overall size and weight of the instrument.


Method of Carriage

Bass tuba

Hold stowage

Bassoon (small)

Cabin baggage


Hold stowage or extra seat

Bass trombone

Hold stowage


Hold stowage or extra seat


Hold stowage or extra seat


Cabin baggage

Double bass

Hold stowage


Cabin baggage

French horn

Hold stowage or extra seat


Hold stowage or extra seat


Cabin baggage


Hold stowage or extra seat


Cabin baggage

Viola (rectangular)

Hold stowage or extra seat

Violin (shaped)

Cabin baggage

Violin (rectangular)

Hold stowage or extra seat


Any enquiries about the carriage of pets, from Germany to South Africa, must be referred to our handling agent in from Frankfurt and Munich airport:

G.K. Airfreight Service GmbH

Cargo City Nord - Tor 26
Gebäude 458
60549 Frankfurt a.M. / Flughafen (FRA)

Tel.: +49 (0) 69 6971254 0

Prohibited and permitted items

Dangerous Goods:
Dangerous goods are articles and substances that may be a risk to health, safety and/or property when transported by air.

Please see Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)

Dangerous Goods may be divided in two categories:

  • Dangerous goods that may not be carried as cabin or checked baggage

  • Dangerous goods that may be carried under certain conditions

Items that may NOT be carried as cabin or checked Baggage:
Items which are likely to endanger the aircraft or persons or property on board the aircraft, such as those specified in the ICAO or IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations which are available from us on request.

Especially the following items cannot be accepted:

  • briefcases and security type attaché cases, cash boxes / bags with installed alarm devises; or incorporative lithium batteries and or pyrotechnic material

  • disabling devices such as mace, pepper spray etc.

  • explosive munitions, fireworks and flares

  • gases, such as camping gas and aerosols

  • flammable liquids, such as lighter fuels, paints and thinners

  • flammable solids, such as matches and articles which are easily ignited, substances liable to spontaneous combustion, substances which on contact with water emit flammable gases

  • oxidizing substances

  • poisonous (toxic) and infectious substances

  • radioactive materials

  • corrosives (thermometers; acids; alkalies and wet cell batteries)

  • magnetized materials and miscellaneous dangerous goods as listed in the “IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations”

  • Car Parts, at no time may be accepted as part of the Passengers Free Baggage allowance. To be accepted strictly as Cargo.

Items that may be carried under certain conditions:

  • medicinal or toilet articles (not more than 2kgs / 5lbs)

  • alcoholic beverage, perfumes (not more than 5 litres)

  • radio isotopic cardiac pacemakers or other devices, including those powered by lithium batteries, implanted into a person, or radio-pharmaceuticals contained within the body of a person as the result of medical treatment

  • personal smoking materials

Allowed with the approval of the carrier only:

  • ammunition (5kgs / 11lbs per person) only as checked baggage and if for sporting purposes

  • avalanche rescue backpack: only one per passenger

  • batteries, non-spillable: only as checked baggage

  • barometer or thermometer, containing mercury: only as cabin baggage if securely packed and leak-proofed

  • camping stoves: only as checked baggage, if completely drained of any liquid and fuel

  • carbon dioxide cylinder (two), fitted into a self-inflating life jacket, plus two spare cartridges

  • dry ice (not more than 2 kg / 5lb)

  • heat producing articles, e.g. diving lamps, underwater torches: as cabin baggage only, if switched off and battery is removed

  • refrigerated liquid nitrogen (dry shipper), if fully absorbed

  • small gaseous oxygen cylinders (only accepted if empty), or air cylinders for medical use. Exception: to/from/via USA forbidden


Passengers who have booked a domestic (South African) connecting flight have to collect their luggage in Johannesburg. SAA's drop-off desks are located directly after customs control on the left, just before entering the arrivals hall; passengers can drop off their luggage here for domestic flights without having to check in again. If the travel destination is not in South Africa, then the luggage does not need to be collected as it will be checked through to the final destination.

Unaccompanied Baggage

Passengers wishing to send unaccompanied baggage (departing from Germany), will need to contact the South African Airways Cargo office to make the arrangements. Baggage must be taken to the cargo area at Frankfurt and Munich airport and collected from the customs warehouse and not the arrivals baggage reclaim area in South Africa. There is no guarantee that unaccompanied bags will be on the same flight.

For more information on rates please contact SAA Cargo in Frankfurt tel. +49 (0) 6969594060

Voyager Baggage

Silver tier - 1 additional piece (23 kg Economy and Business Class), dimensions 158 cm. Only on SAA flights.

Gold tier - 1 additional piece, weight depending on cabin class booked, ( 23 kg Economy Class, 32 kg Business Class), dimensions 158 cm. Also applies to Star Alliance carriers flights.

Platinum tier - 1 additional piece (32 kg Economy and Business Class), dimensions 158 cm. Also applies to Star Alliance carriers flights.

Lifetime Plat - 1 additional pieces (32 kg Economy and Business Class), dimensions 158 cm. Also applies to Star Alliance carriers flights.