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Travelling with Infants

Travelling with Infants information

South African Airways (SAA) offers special assistance to make travelling more pleasurable and comfortable for our youngest flyers and their parents.

Who is eligible?

  • Any person under two years of age is an infant.
  • Each infant must be accompanied by an adult.
  • If you are travelling alone with two infants, kindly arrange for an escort to assist.
  • In the case of an infant turning the age of two en route, a separate seat must be purchased. Flight reservations of this nature must be booked through your local SAA office.
  • Children over two years of age must occupy a separate seat.

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Comfort & convenience

  • Sky cradles are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Request one upon booking to ensure easy travel with your baby.
  • An infant occupying a sky cradle must not exceed 6 months, 10kg and 75cm.
  • No one is permitted to sleep on the cabin floor - due to oxygen availability and accessibility in the event of decompression.
  • Aircraft seats situated at a bulk head where a baby bassinet can be used are the best seats when travelling with an infant. For a more pleasurable flight and more legroom, it is highly recommended that a Mother with an infant specifically request these seats on booking.
  • Every aircraft is equipped with toilets with diaper boards, adequately sized overhead stowages and baby bassinets to ensure a smooth travel experience for Mothers travelling with infants.
  • Baby bassinets and toilets with diaper boards are aircraft specific as per the table below.
     
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    Baby car seat

    • Parents or guardians may use baby car seats for their child during the flight.
    • For infants travelling in this manner, a seat must be booked and paid for.

      Refer to the table below to ascertain whether the car seat will fit on the aircraft you will be travelling on.

        A340-600/300
      A330-200 A319 B737 A320
      Pitch 33/34” 32" 32" 32" 31"
      Width between armrest 17" 17.5" 17.6" 17.5" 17.5"
      43.18cm 44.45cm 44.7cm 44.45cm 44.45cm

       

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    Safety requirements

    • The car seat must be forward-facing and secured to the passenger seat by the aircraft seatbelt.
    • The seat must be fitted with a single release-type harness, which must secure the infant’s lap, torso and shoulders.
    • Harness straps must be a minimum of 25mm wide, and any metal lift-type adjustment device must require a positive angular lift to operate.
    • The child must not be able to loosen the release device.
    • These seats may not be used for children older than 36 months.

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    Special meal needs

    • Requests for baby meals must be made at time of reservation; otherwise standard meals will be served.
    • A wide selection of soft drinks and fruit juices are available for children.
    • Milk and food you carry onboard for your child can be warmed up by our cabin crew.

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    Baggage allowance

    • Checked baggage: Infants are permitted 1 PC up to 10kg of checked baggage and one collapsible buggy or car seat. Infants paying 50% of the adult fare are entitled to the same baggage allowance as adults.
       
    • Hand luggage: Infants are entitled to one carry-on bag including bedding, napkins, feeding bottles and food. This baggage is free of charge provided that the total mass, excluding the infant, does not exceed 8kg.

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    Infant fares

    • Book your and your child’s SAA airfare on the same day, and qualify for lower fares for your child.
    • Not all SAA fares include infant fares.

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    Assistance during boarding

    • SAA does offer priority boarding and if a Meet and Assist Service is requested we can assist mothers travelling alone with infants. Once on board, cabin crewmembers will be available to assist mothers with stowing any baggage as well as making them more comfortable. On landing, cabin crewmembers are available to assist with disembarkation, once all other customers have disembarked.
    • A ground staff member will be available to assist from the aircraft to the baggage collection area

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    Assistance onboard

    • Cabin crewmembers are available throughout a flight to assist customers, especially those with special needs such as Mothers travelling with infants or young children. A Mother is always welcome to explain any specific requirements and our cabin crew will always do their best to assist.
    • Prior to take off, a cabin crewmember will brief a Mother travelling with an infant or a toddler less than 2 years on important safety information. This is also an opportunity for the Mother to make requests or clarify any information that will make the flight more comfortable for both Mother and infant.
    • Children, 2 years and older cannot be seated on an adult for take-off and landing and must occupy their own seat.
    • Baby Restraint Devices – These are available to secure an infant during take-off, landing and when seat belt signs are eliminated. A cabin crewmember will offer the device to a Mother prior to take off on every flight. The use of the device is optional.
    • Bottle warming – A cabin crew member will assist with heating bottles in hot water.
    • Blankets, pillows, nappies, baby food – Additional blankets and pillows are available should a Mother require these to make herself or her infant more comfortable. As there are a limited number of extra blankets and pillows loaded per flight, it is recommended that any extras required are requested prior to take off. Nappies and baby food are not available on board.
    • Baby Bassinets – Once on board, if seated in a row of seats at a bulkhead, a cabin crewmember can assist with positioning a baby bassinet after take-off, once the seat belt signs have been switched off. The cabin crewmember will be required to confirm the age, weight and length of the infant prior to confirming the bassinet. This is to ensure the safety of the infant whilst occupying the bassinet. The baby bassinet cannot be put into position or occupied by an infant during take-off and landing and can only be used during flight, and then only when the seat belt signs are off. As soon as the seat belt signs are illuminated, the infant must be removed from the baby bassinet.
    • Sleeping on the floor – Customers are not permitted to sleep on the floor on board the aircraft, this includes infants and young children. This is to ensure their safety.
    • Baby changing facilities – All SAA aircraft have toilets equipped with diaper boards. A cabin crew member will direct the Mother to the closest toilet with diaper board as these differ on aircraft types.
    • Watching kids while mom goes to the loo – Cabin crewmembers are discouraged from carrying children but at a Mother’s request, they are always available to watch children to afford the Mother an opportunity to go to the toilet. However, it is important to note that should a cabin crewmember be permitted to carry a child, in the unlikely event that the child is injured, the airline will not take responsibility for any injuries sustained by the child.
    • Young children – On long haul flights, children’s activity kits are available to entertain children while they travel. These contain games, colouring books and other activities. Our IFE also offers a variety of kids games, movies and programmes to ensure that Mom and Dad get an opportunity to rest.
    • Safety - Walking around the cabin is discouraged to minimise any injuries that can be caused due to turbulence, etc. It is recommended that the seat belt is fastened throughout the flight.
    • Meals – Special Meals are available for infants and young children. These must be ordered at least 48 hours prior to the day of departure. Kosher meals must be ordered at least 72 hours prior to the day of departure.
    • On long haul flights, particularly those that depart at night, children are offered an opportunity to eat first, before other customers are served their meals.

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    Breastfeeding

    • While breast feeding facilities are not available on board, Mothers are welcome to breast feed infants in the cabin or the toilet, if more privacy is required. Should a Mother choose to breast feed in the cabin, to minimise any discomfort to other customers, Mothers are kindly requested to do so discreetly.

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    What assistance could the airline offer if your infant became ill on the flight?

    • Cabin crewmembers are well trained in first aid procedures to deal with medical emergencies relating to infants, children and adults. First Aid training relating to infant and child CPR, choking, allergies and other treatments are trained on an annual basis. All SAA cabin crewmembers are also registered with the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa.
    • Our onboard medical emergency procedures make provision for health care professionals to be called upon to assist with medical emergencies. Depending on the severity of the medical emergency the flight deck may make a decision to divert to the nearest destination to afford the patient access to more suitable health care facilities. Aircraft medical equipment include a comprehensive Doctors Kit, First Aid kits, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and Oxygen.

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