Special Assistance


Important notice: Please note that whether a passenger is using SAA oxygen tanks or their own portable CPAP machine, SAA DOES NOT PERMIT THE USE OF CONTINUOUS OXYGEN as all equipment must be stowed for take off and landing.

  • A minimum of 2-weeks notice is required to request this service. A request can be made within this period, subject to confirmation from the SAA Medical department in Johannesburg that the service can be made available.

  • Only SAA oxygen tanks can be utilised on our flights. For safety reasons, passengers cannot use their own oxygen units.

  • We cannot provide oxygen for a passenger who requires a continuous supply as the oxygen cylinders need to be stowed for take off and landing.

  • One cylinder will provide approximately 9 hours of oxygen at 2 litres per minute and approximately 4 hours 30 minutes of oxygen at a rate of 4 litres per minute.

  • SAA charge USD150.00 per sector, regardless of whether it is an international or a domestic flight.

  • If the oxygen is not used during the flight passengers cannot request a refund. The USD150 is the cost for the transportation and service, not the oxygen itself.

  • Oxygen must be requested using the SRMEDA entry.

  • An EMD will be issued for the oxygen charge, (one coupon per flight), the details will be in the PNR and can be seen at check-in as proof of payment.

  • A maximum of 3 cylinders are permitted per passenger, per flight.

  • The doctor must specify whether the cylinders will be running at either 2 litres or 4 litres per minute.

  • Please note this service can only be provided on SAA flights. If the passenger is flying with South African Express or Airlink, they must contact them directly to arrange that separately.

Oxygen Concentrators (Portable Oxygen Concentrator - POC/Constant Pressure Air Pump - CPAP):

Passengers may travel using their own oxygen concentrator, (see list of approved devices below). These concentrators are FAA approved and use the aircraft electrical medical outlet power or the unit's own batteries. The use of these concentrators is acceptable to SAA, during the cruise phase of flight, but must be logged with Medical Reservations. These concentrators must be switched off during take-off and landing, and at any time deemed necessary by the Commander. Please note that the passenger is expected to carry with him/her an adequate number of batteries to power his/her device for 150% of the expected maximum flight duration in case of any problems with the power outlet on board.

Approved POC devices:

  • Delphi Medical Systems RS-00400
  • Invacare XPO2
  • AirSep Lifestyle
  • AirSep freestyle
  • Inogen One
  • Inogen One G2
  • SeQual Eclipse
  • Respironics Ever Go
  • DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
  • International Biophysics Corporation Life Choice
  • Ox life Independence Oxygen Concentrator

Approved CPAP devices:

  • Sullivan III
  • Remstar

An oxygen concentrator does not use oxygen from a canister and therefore you do not request oxygen or charge the passenger. The POC & CPAP machines use the oxygen from the surrounding air and concentrates it for the passenger to breathe through a mask.

On the aircraft the machines will run off the power supply on the plane, not the batteries of the unit, therefore, Johannesburg need to allocate specified seating that enables connection to the power supply by use of either a flat or a round, 2 pin plug.

Restricted Mobility

As of 17th June 2008, EU regulations came into effect regarding passengers of restricted mobility. In order to meet these guidelines UK airports have contracted companies who will handle these passengers. At Heathrow Terminal 1, Omniserv are the service provider and will assist the following groups of passengers:
DPNA Disabled passenger with intellectual or developmental disability needing assistance
WCBD Wheelchair, dry cell battery
WCMP Wheelchair, manual power
WCOB Wheelchair, on board

When a passenger requests assistance for one of the above services, please ensure you advise them to report to the "Passenger Assistance Desk", (which is situated in behind WH Smith, near the Flight Connections Centre, at Terminal 1), prior to going to the check-in desk. Omniserv will assist them from that point on.

IMPORTANT: South African Airways do not accept the carriage of wet cell batteries.

Wheelchairs / Slip chairs

SAA provide a wheelchair on board all aircraft types for the use of customers who have limited mobility. The passenger must be able to see to their own needs on board otherwise they will have to travel with an able bodied assistant.

The crew will help the passenger from their seat, into the slip chair to take them to the toilet but once inside the passenger must be able to take care of themselves. On short haul flights, if the passenger is travelling alone, it may be advisable for them to have a catheter fitted.

Wheelchairs Prior To Arrival In Terminal 1:
Please advise customers that at Heathrow there are Help Points clearly labelled in the car parks, at bus stops and at the drop off areas. If they require wheelchair assistance to the terminal, they must use the phone at the nearest Help Point and Omniserve will organise a wheelchair operator to pick them up from that point. Their telephone number is 020 8757 2700.

The help points are clearly marked with green signs.

Meet and Assist (MAAS)

South African Airways can provide this facility in three circumstances:

  1. Young person travelling alone, from the ages of 12 to 17.

  2. Elderly passenger travelling alone.

  3. Parent travelling alone with children.

Please remember when booking special assistance such as a MAAS, that SAA staff are not permitted to carry customers' personal possessions or children. This is a health and safety regulation.

Medical Form (MEDA)

Before completing this form, please contact our call centre on 0844 375 9680 to determine whether a form is required.

  • MEDA form (or MEDIF) must be completed and signed by the passenger’s GP or doctor.
  • You can access the form from the following link: Medical Information Sheet (MEDIF)

Blind passengers (BLND) / Seeing eye dogs

  • It is not necessary to request a MAAS (Meet and Assist) for partially blind passengers as the SR will alert Omnieserve at LHR and SAA staff in South Africa, who will automatically arrange for an escort to assist them through to the boarding gate.

  • Advise passengers departing from LHR to report to the Passenger Assistance Desk before check-in.

  • Seeing eye dogs are allowed in the cabin on our domestic flights: they will be seated at the bulkhead to give the dog room to lie down. 

Unaccompanied Minors

Unaccompanied Minors (UMNR)

An Unaccompanied Minor is a child between the ages of 5 and 11 years (inclusive) not accompanied by a person of 16 years of age or older. Children who are at least 12 years old but under 16 are regarded as young passengers, (YP's) and can be assisted as an MAAS. However, should the parent or guardian request they be booked as an Unaccompanied Minor, we will do that.

Any child under the age of 5 years must be accompanied.

  • Full contact details of both parent or guardian taking and collecting the child to/from the airport must be provided, including telephone number, physical address and relationship to the child.
  • Photo ID will be asked for before handing the UM over to the person collecting the child from the airport.
  • The parent or guardian must not leave the airport until the flight has taken off. This is to cover the eventuality of a delayed flight. For security and insurance purposes it is safer to have a family member stay overnight with the child, rather than a staff member.
  • Language is important as South Africa has 11 official languages. If the child only speaks a local dialect, we have to make sure there is a crew member on board who speaks the same language.
  • Advance reservations must at all times be made for unaccompanied minors as South African Airways limit the number of unaccompanied minors per flight to ensure the best possible treatment for each child.
  • When travelling on international services, unaccompanied minors must be in possession of a valid passport, visa, health documents and any other documents which may be required by the country of destination.
  • The special handling advice form must be completed prior to the minor being checked in.
  • Unaccompanied minors may not be booked on flights arriving at their destinations later than 20:00.
  • Unaccompanied minors must always be escorted to and from airports by the designated parent or guardian (as advised at time of reservation).
  • The children should be supplied with funds to enable them to purchase meals, snacks, cold drinks, etc.
  • Unaccompanied minors will be given a badge at check-in identifying them as such.This badge, together with a document satchel enables SAA personnel to identify unaccompanied minors easily during flights and in crowds. 

UMNR's on other carriers:

When making a booking for a UMNR that involves another carrier (including SA code share flight numbers) please be aware that some airlines make a charge to facilitate the handling of an unaccompanied minor. Always advise the customer to check directly with the carrier concerned as the fee will need to be paid on departure directly to the airline. For a return journey it is advisable for the guardian to pay both fees at the point of origin to safeguard against any problems on the return flight.

Important: Please note that Virgin Little Red do not accept unaccompanied minors and BA no longer accept UMNR's from / to connections on other carriers. We are therefore unable to book UM's on any UK domestic route.