Baggage Allowance


  • Permitted baggage allowance:

    • Economy: 1 piece maximum weight 23kg, max. dimensions 158cm

    • Business: 2 pieces maximum weight 32kg each, max. dimensions 158cm

  • Excess baggage:

From 14th March 2019, the excess baggage rate from London to South Africa is as follows:

-          GBP65.00 per piece for the 1st extra bag in Economy Class and GBP120.00 per piece for the 1st extra bag in Business Class

-          GBP120.00 per piece for the 2nd and 3rd extra bag in Economy Class and in Business Class

From 14th March 2019, the excess baggage rate from London to Africa via Johannesburg is as follows:

-          GBP90.00 per piece for the 1st extra bag in Economy Class and GBP150.00 per piece for the 1st extra bag in Business Class

-          GBP150.00 per piece for the 2nd and 3rd extra bag in Economy Class and in Business Class

Additional baggage rates will apply for each of the following:

  • Each bag exceeding the number of pieces prescribed in the traveller’s baggage allowance

  • Each bag exceeding the dimensions of 158cm (calculated as length + width + height), but not exceeding 203cm.

  • Each bag exceeding the maximum prescribed weight of 23kg (Economy Class), where applicable, but not exceeding 32kg.

  • Multiple excess baggage charges will apply for baggage that violates more than one of the above rules.

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:

Passengers are permitted to check-in a maximum of 3 pieces of excess baggage, above their free baggage allowance. Any additional pieces will need to be sent via Cargo, at applicable Cargo rates

The full baggage policy may be found here.

Voyager Baggage

As a Voyager frequent flyer member, you can enjoy an increased baggage allowance, subject to your tier status.

SAA Voyager Tier Additional Baggage Allowance as part of the free allowance
SAA Voyager Blue card holders No additional baggage allowance
SAA Voyager Silver Card holder 1 extra piece of 23kg, irrespective of class of travel
SAA Voyager Gold Card 1 extra piece based on the allowance of the booked cabin class
SAA Voyager Platinum 1 extra piece of 32kg, irrespective of class of travel
SAA Voyager Lifetime Platinum 2 extra pieces of 32kg per piece, irrespective of class of travel
SAA Voyager Platinum, Platinum Elect & Lifetime Platinum & SAA Gold, Gold Elect Member & Star Alliance Gold Member on SAA operated flights plus any Star Alliance – operated flights 1 extra piece based on the allowance of the respective class (weight or piece)
Ecobank Voyager Platinum & Gold Credit Card Holders  1 Additional piece of luggage when travelling on SAA Operated flights. 32Kg Business Class and 23Kg Economy Class
Unico Voyager Gold and Silver Credit Card Holders  1 Additional piece of luggage when travelling on SAA Operated flights. 32Kg Business Class and 23Kg Economy Class


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.

Carriage of Laptops:
Please note that a laptop NOT the laptop bag is the additional free article which may be carried on board.

As few passengers travel without a bag to protect their laptops, it is acceptable to allow a laptop in a laptop bag onboard. However, the size of the bag is determined by the size of the laptop. Bags that contain large amounts of documentation and personal items are not acceptable as a laptop bag and as such they will be asked to check it in.

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 115cms. 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 23cms. 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 75kgs 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

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.

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

Strollers / Pushchairs / Buggies

Infants travelling when not occupying a seat, shall only be permitted one piece of checked baggage at a maximum weight of 23kgs. The accompanying adult will be allowed one stroller or pram for the infant.

At Heathrow, providing the stroller weighs less than 5kgs the passenger can use the stroller as far as the boarding gate, it will be tagged at check-in and then taken off them at the boarding gate to be put into the hold. Any stroller over 5kgs will have to be checked in with the suitcases. There will be no charge for the stroller.


Any enquiries about the carriage of pets, from the UK to South Africa, must be referred to our handling agent called Ladyhaye.

Their details are:

Hare Lane
Bindley Heath

Tel: 01342 832 161

Unaccompanied Baggage

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

SAA Cargo Office: 0203 837 9820

Alternatively there is a company based at Heathrow Terminal 2 called The Excess Baggage Company:

Heathrow Airport Terminal Offices Tel. 020 8759 3344 Email.

London Heathrow Terminal 2 Zone A, by the VAT claim area (06:00hrs - 23:00hrs)

Sporting Equipment

While we go out of our way to encourage your healthy lifestyle and sporting adventures, charges on sports equipment may apply on both international and domestic flights.

Sporting equipment will form part of the free baggage allowance for tickets issued on/after 15 November 2019. If the free baggage allowance is exceeded, the standard additional baggage charges will apply. This means that excess baggage may be charged for your sporting equipment.

Tickets purchased prior to 15 November 2019 will remain unchanged: sports equipment which can travel free of charge is listed below as long as the additional piece of baggage weighs no more than 23kg with a maximum dimension of 158cm unless specified below. Sporting equipment larger than 200 cm, canoes, windsurfers, hang-gliders and kayaks will be accepted strictly as cargo and the relevant Cargo rates will apply.

The sporting equipment allowance is available on all SAA operated flights. It excludes our codeshare partners and the following flight series 1000-2999 and 7000-8999. Excess baggage rates may be charged during special events.

Angling (fishing rods not exceeding 200cm) Football/Soccer Rock Climbing: Helmets, rope bags, climbing harnesses and crash pads/ bouldering mats if not exceeding 200cm in length
Archery Golf (200 cm) Rugby
Athletics/Track and Field Ice and Field Hockey Sailing equipment: Wet/dry sailing suits, life jackets, water boots, ropes, blocks, pulleys, water bottle (empty), sails and paddles. Tubes and paddles may not be longer than 200cm.
Baseball/Softball Horse Riding: (saddle must be wrapped & stirrups must be tied & riding helmet) Snow/Water ski equipment
Basketball Lacrosse Surfboards/kite surfing/paragliding - smaller than 200cm
Bowls Netball Swimming
Cricket Motor-Sport: Protective riding gear & helmet Tennis/Squash
Cycling (200cm – 100cm – 75cm) Motor-Cycle gear: Protective riding gear and helmet, motor cycle to be sent as cargo Ten pin bowling
Diving/Scuba Equipment: Scuba tank must be empty Parachute Equipment (including helmet) Volleyball
Fencing (bag not exceeding 200cm) Polo Cross: Riding helmet, stick and balls  

Sports equipment not specified above can be included in the free baggage allowance and any excess weight will be charged accordingly. Wheelchairs are permitted as a free additional piece of baggage, as long as they are used as sports equipment. Do take note that all sporting equipment balls must be deflated.

A handling fee for shooting/hunting (firearms) will be raised for tickets issued as from 15 May 2019. 


Bicycles (up to 23kg) 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.

Firearms Policy

For information on Firearms and Ammunition please click here.