Fragile, valuable or items with sentimental value should not be checked-in. These items, including identification documents and passports, should be placed in your hand baggage and kept safely.

  • SAA is unfortunately unable to provide our musicians with a special free baggage allowance for the carriage of musical instruments. Musical instruments must be handled as normal checked-in or hand baggage or be transported on a paid-for seat in the passenger cabin.

    If you check-in your instrument, it will be subject to normal excess baggage charges if it exceeds your free baggage allowance.

    Please note that certain conditions and limitations may apply when transporting musical instruments. To review these conditions, or if you have any questions regarding our musical instrument transportation, please get in touch with us.

    Travelling with musical instruments as hand baggage

    • The total dimension of the instrument or its carrying case must not exceed 115cms (calculated as length + width + height). If the instrument or 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 you or in the overhead compartment. The total weight must not exceed 8kg.
    • Instruments that conform to the size and weight limits are considered 1 item of hand baggage. Customers in Business Class may carry 1 more item of hand baggage and those in Economy Class will not be allowed any other hand baggage.
    • It is highly recommended that the instrument be carried or packed in a custom-built case to protect it. If it is not in a carrying case, the instrument must not have any sharp corners that might damage other hand baggages.

    Travelling with musical instruments as an extra seat(s) in the cabin

    • To transport your musical instrument on a seat your booking must be made via the SAA Call Centre and they must be notified that you intend to carry a musical instrument on an extra seat.
    • Information regarding size and weight of your instrument must be provided and the extra seat must be booked and paid for. The seat will be charged at a discounted rate (base fare, excluding taxes). It is not acceptable for the instrument to occupy an empty seat, which has not been paid for.
    • No more than 75kg per seat may be carried under this arrangement. Travellers will not receive any additional free checked baggage allowance for the purchase of the extra seat.

    Instruments and methods of carriage

    Instrument Method of Carriage
    Bass tuba Checked/additional baggage
    Bassoon (small) Checked/additional baggage
    Banjo Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
    Bass trombone Checked/additional baggage
    Cello Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
    Contrabassoon Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
    Clarinet Hand baggage
    Double bass Checked/additional baggage
    Flute Hand baggage
    French horn Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
    Guitar Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
    Oboe Hand baggage
    Saxophone Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
    Trumpet Hand baggage
    Viola (rectangular) Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
    Violin (shaped) Hand baggage
    Violin (rectangular) Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
  • We understand that your pets are part of your family so we try to accommodate their needs as best as we can. Pets are not permitted in the cabin, with the exception of service dogs. Depending on the individual circumstances, pets must be carried either as cargo, or as checked baggage in the hold.

    If your pet is travelling as checked baggage, the weight of the animal and its container will be charged as excess baggage and will not count towards your free baggage allowance.

    Please contact the SAA Call Centre well before your flight to confirm any required procedures (such as permits, microchips, tests, vaccinations) to allow your pet to travel – you must complete these before SAA can make final arrangements for your pet. Note that this process can take a long time, especially in complex cases. Once complete, please allow 1 week to submit your paperwork to SAA ahead of your flight.

    For travel within South Africa, pets must be within a secure container of not more than 1x1m in size and not weighing more than 23kg. Your pet’s original vaccination and rabies certificate must be present at the time of pet check-in.

    For international travel, please contact SAA Cargo for more information.

  • 1.5 litre bottle of Zam Zam or sea water can travel as part of your free baggage allowance otherwise applicable excess baggage fees will be charged. The bottles must be properly packed in a plastic covering to avoid leakage.

  • 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. 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. 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.

    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.

    The sporting equipment allowance is available on all SAA operated flights, however it excludes our codeshare partner operated flights on SAA marketing flight numbers.

    Angling (fishing rods not exceeding 200cm)


    Rock Climbing: Helmets, rope bags, climbing harnesses and crash pads/ bouldering mats if not exceeding 200cm in length


    Golf (200 cm)


    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.


    Horse Riding: (saddle must be wrapped & stirrups must be tied & riding helmet)

    Snow/Water ski equipment



    Surfboards/kite surfing/paragliding - smaller than 200cm





    Motor-Sport: Protective riding gear & helmet


    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)


    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.


  • Customers traveling with photographic equipment pertaining to lenses and cameras will be allowed to carry the equipment on board if the allowance is within the current cabin baggage regulations. The total dimensions may not exceed 115cm and the weight a maximum 8kg. You will be expected to sign a limited release label.

    Any other photographic equipment, i.e., lighting equipment, tripods, props etc. must be packed in cases or boxes and accepted as Checked Baggage.

    Advance reservation arrangements must be made no later than 72 hours prior to departure.

  • Firearms may not travel as checked baggage and must be declared during check in to be processed at the Firearm Desk. Ammunition must be packed separately from firearms in an appropriate, secure and lockable case and checked-in at the Firearm Desk. All firearms and ammunition must be declared at the time of check-in. Firearms and ammunition in checked baggage will result in the baggage being rejected. For more information click here:


  • Cabin baggage may not be placed on a seat however, an exception can be made if you pay for an extra seat to carry extremely valuable baggage (e.g., antique musical instruments, works of art etc.). Contact your local South African Airways office for more information.

  • South African Airways allow pets to fly as checked baggage on domestic flights. Some Regional and International flights would require the pets to be accepted as manifested cargo. For more information click here:


  • Cremated human remains (ashes) are acceptable for carriage as checked baggage or in the cabin of the aircraft provided you are in possession of all necessary documentation including the certified copy of the death certificate and a certificate of the crematorium.  Please contact the country you are traveling to for detailed importation requirements if applicable. 

    The Container or Urn containing the cremated remains should have the ashes placed in a plastic bag inside a supported sealed container for added protection that will pass airport x-ray machines.