SAA Baggage Liability and Conditions
We will make every effort to ensure that your baggage is handled with care. While you wait for your delayed baggage, we will make every reasonable effort to minimize your inconvenience. If you are not a resident of the country you have arrived in, we will reimburse you for reasonable expenses that you may incur when buying essential items, using the following guidelines:
- Reimbursement for essential items will be considered upon submission of receipts. Unfortunately, no reimbursement will be made without receipts.
- The below interim expense allowance, is paid per customer travelling on a SAA operated flight, for a maximum of five days.
- Economy Class passengers are entitled to 75 USD (or equivalent local currency) per day; and
- Business Class passengers are entitled to 100 USD (or equivalent local currency) per day.
We commit to providing a fair and equitable settlement to cover losses that you may incur due to lost or damaged baggage. The total liability for a piece of baggage checked is limited by the Warsaw convention or Montreal convention, whichever is applicable based on your itinerary.
We will compensate you for reasonable, documented and verifiable damages up to the limit of liability. Anything of significant value should be packed in your carry-on baggage, including electronic devices, computer equipment, cameras, and jewellery. Our Conditions of Carriage outlines specific items that are excluded from liability if you check them in your baggage.
Please read our general conditions of carriage to ensure a safe and pleasant flight.
- You are welcome to download our full baggage policy here. SAA reserves the right to change this baggage policy as and when required.
9.1 Special Baggage Allowance (for International and Domestic Journeys)
9.1.1 Special Baggage regulations are applicable on SA operating only. (SA 1000; 2000; 7000; 8000 series excluded)
9.1.2 Sporting equipment – Angling – (Fishing rods – may be accepted if not exceeding 200cm)
9.1.3 Free baggage allowance
You may carry some baggage free of charge, subject to our conditions and limitations, which are available upon request from us or our Authorised Agents, and are also available on our website www.flysaa.com.
9.2 Excess Baggage
You will be required to pay a charge for carriage of baggage in excess of the free baggage allowance. These rates are available from your local travel agent or South African Airways office. Alternatively, click here for a printable version.
9.3. Items Unacceptable as Baggage
9.3.1 You must not include in your baggage:
184.108.40.206 Items which do not constitute baggage as defined in Article 1;
220.127.116.11 Items which are likely to endanger the aircraft or persons or property onboard the aircraft, such as those specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, and in our regulations (further information is available from us upon request);
18.104.22.168 Items which, according to the applicable laws, regulations or orders of any state to be flown from or to, may not be carried;
22.214.171.124 Items which are reasonably considered by us to be unsuitable for carriage because they are dangerous or unsafe by reason of their weight, size, shape or character, or which are fragile or perishable having regard to, among other things, the type of aircraft being used. Information about unacceptable items is available upon request;
9.3.2 Firearms and ammunition of any nature are prohibited from carriage as, or within, checked baggage. We may accept such items as part of your baggage allowance and will provide you with assistance in the acceptance of such items. Firearms must be unloaded with the safety catch on, and suitably packed. Carriage of ammunition is subject to ICAO and IATA regulations as specified in 126.96.36.199.
9.3.3 Weapons such as swords, knives, and other similar items, may be accepted as checked baggage, at our discretion, but will not be permitted in the cabin of the aircraft.
9.3.4 You must not include in checked baggage: fragile or perishable items, artwork, money, jewellery, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, cellular telephones, cameras, audio and video equipment, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports or other identification documents or samples.
9.3.5 If, despite being prohibited, any items referred to in 9.3.1, 9.3.2 and 9.3.4 are included in your baggage, we shall not be responsible for any loss of or damage to such items.
9.4 Right to Refuse Carriage
9.4.1 Subject to paragraph 9.3.2 and 9.3.3, we will refuse to carry as baggage the items described in 9.3, and we may refuse further carriage of any such items upon discovery. The right of search, whether exercised or not, does not constitute an agreement by us, either expressed or implied, to carry items within your baggage which would otherwise be precluded from carriage.
9.4.2 We may refuse to carry as baggage any item reasonably considered by us to be unsuitable for carriage because of its size, shape and weight, content, character, or for safety or operational reasons, or for the comfort of other passengers. Information about unacceptable items is available upon request.
9.4.3 We may refuse to carry as baggage any item, due to safety, security or operational reasons, including baggage which does not belong to you and which you have pooled with your baggage. This refers to baggage or items packed within your baggage that were passed on to you by a third party, or baggage carried on behalf of someone else, the contents of which are not known to you. This must be declared. The identification of such items, without you informing us, could result in the refusal of carriage, and possible legal action. We do not accept liability for such baggage and are entitled to an indemnity from you in respect of claims or losses incurred as a result of any damage caused to it.
9.4.4 We may refuse to accept baggage for carriage unless it is, in our reasonable opinion, properly and securely packed in suitable containers. Information about packing and containers unacceptable to us is available upon request.
9.5 Right of Search
For reasons of safety and security we may request that you permit a search and scan of your person and a search, scan or x-ray of your baggage. If you are not available, your baggage may be searched in your absence, with the purpose of determining whether you are in possession of or whether your baggage contains any item described in 9.3.1 or any firearms, ammunition or weapons, which have not been presented to us in accordance with 9.3.2 or 9.3.3. If you are unwilling to comply with such a request we may refuse to carry you and your baggage. In the event t a search or scan causes damage to you, or an x-ray or scan causes damage to your baggage, we shall not be liable for such damage unless due to our fault or negligence.
9.6 Checked Baggage
9.6.1 Upon delivery to us of baggage you wish to check in, we will take custody of, and issue a Baggage Identification Tag for, each piece of your checked baggage.
9.6.2 Checked baggage must have your name or other personal identification affixed to it.
9.6.3 Checked baggage will, whenever possible, be carried on the same aircraft as you, unless we decide for safety, security or operational reasons to carry it on an alternative flight. If your checked baggage is carried on a subsequent flight we will deliver it to you, unless applicable law requires you to be present for customs clearance.
9.7 Unchecked Baggage
9.7.1 We may specify maximum dimensions and/or weight limits for baggage which you carry onto the aircraft. If we have not done so, baggage which you carry onto the aircraft must fit under the seat in front of you or in an enclosed storage compartment in the cabin of the aircraft. If your baggage cannot be stored in this manner, it must be carried as checked baggage.
9.7.2 Objects not suitable for carriage in the cargo compartment (such as delicate musical instruments), and which do not meet the requirements in 9.7.1 above, will only be accepted for carriage in the cabin compartment if you have given us notice in advance and permission has been granted by us. You may have to pay a separate charge for this service.
9.8 Collection and Delivery of Checked Baggage
9.8.1 Subject to Article 9.6.3, you are required to collect your checked baggage as soon as it is made available at your destination or stopover. Should you not collect it within reasonable time, we may charge you a storage fee. Should your checked baggage not be claimed within three (3) months of the time it is made available, we may dispose of it without any liability to you.
9.8.2 Only the bearer of the baggage check and baggage identification tag is entitled to delivery of the checked baggage.
9.8.3 If a person claiming checked baggage is unable to produce the baggage check and identify the baggage by means of a Baggage Identification Tag, we will deliver the baggage to such person only on condition that he or she establishes to our satisfaction his or her right to the baggage and if required by us, such person shall furnish adequate security to reimburse us for any loss, damage or expense which may be incurred by us as a result of such delivery.
If we agree to carry your animals they will be carried subject to the following conditions:
9.9.1 You must ensure that animals such as dogs, cats, household birds and other pets, are properly crated and accompanied with valid health and vaccination certificates, entry permits, and other documents required by countries of entry or transit failing which, they will not be accepted for carriage. Such carriage may be subject to additional conditions specified by us, which are available on request;
9.9.2 If accepted as baggage, the animal, together with its container and food, shall not be included in your free baggage allowance, but shall constitute excess baggage, for which you will be obliged to pay the applicable rate. Animals will not be carried in the passenger cabin of the aircraft. They will be carried, suitably containerized, in the cargo compartment of the aircraft.
9.9.3 Guide dogs accompanying passengers with disabilities will be carried free of charge in addition to the normal free baggage allowance, subject to conditions specified by us, which are available upon request.
9.9.4 Where carriage is not subject to the liability rules of the convention, we are not responsible for injury to or loss, sickness or death of an animal which we have agreed to carry unless we have been negligent;
9.9.5 We will have no liability in respect of any such animal not having all the necessary exit, entry, health and other documents with respect to the animal's entry into or passage through any country, state or territory. The person carrying the animal must reimburse us for any fines, cost, losses or liabilities reasonably imposed or incurred by us as a result.
16.1 The liability of South African Airways (Proprietary) Limited and each carrier involved in your journey will be determined by its own conditions of carriage. Our liability provisions are as described in this article.
16.2 Unless otherwise stated herein, international travel, as defined in the convention, is subject to the liability rules of the convention. Reference is made to the special agreement we apply (see Article 16.4).
16.3 Where your carriage is not subject to or not inconsistent with the liability rules of the convention, the following rules shall apply:
16.3.1 Any liability we have for damage will be reduced by any negligence, wrongful act or omission on your part which causes or contributes to the damage in accordance with applicable law.
16.3.2 We will be liable only for damage that occurrs during carriage on flights or flight segments where our airline designator code appears in the carrier box of the ticket for that flight or flight segment. If we issue a ticket or if we check baggage for carriage on another carrier, we do so only as agent for the other carrier. Nevertheless, with respect to checked baggage, you may make a claim against the first or last carrier.
16.3.3 We will not be liable for damage to unchecked baggage unless such damage is caused by our negligence.
16.3.4 We are not liable for any damage arising from our compliance with applicable laws or Government rules and regulations, or from your failure to comply with the same.
16.3.5 Except in the case of an act or omission carried out with intent to cause damage or in a reckless manner, with knowledge that damage would likely result, our liability in the case of damage to checked baggage shall be limited to SDR 19 per kilogram and in the case of damage to unchecked baggage shall be limited to SDR 376 per passenger, where the Warsaw Convention applies to your journey. Where the Montreal Convention applies to your journey, our liability in the case of damage to checked and unchecked baggage shall be limited to 1131 SDRs provided that in either case if in accordance with applicable law different limits of liability are applicable such different limits shall apply. If the weight of the baggage is not recorded on the baggage check, it is presumed that the total weight of the checked baggage does not exceed the applicable free baggage allowance for the class of carriage concerned. If in the case of checked baggage a higher value is declared in writing pursuant to an excess valuation facility, our liability shall be limited to such higher declared value.
16.3.6 Except where other specific provision is made in these conditions, we shall be liable to you only for recoverable compensatory damages for proven losses and costs in accordance with the convention.
16.3.7 We are not liable for any damage caused by your baggage. You shall be responsible for and shall reimburse us in respect of any damage caused by your baggage to other persons or property, including our property.
16.3.8 Our liability for Damage to articles not permitted to be contained in Checked Baggage under 9.3, including fragile or perishable items, items having a special value, electronic devices, jewellery, precious metals, computers, personal equipment, negotiable papers, securities, or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents, or samples shall, subject to any defenses as may be available to us, not exceed the limits of liability as provided for under the Convention.
16.3.9 We are not responsible for any illness, injury or disability, including death, attributable to your physical condition or for the aggravation of such condition.
16.3.10 The contract of carriage, including these conditions of carriage and exclusions or limits of liability, applies to our authorised agents, servants, employees and representatives to the same extent as they apply to us. The total amount recoverable from us and from such authorised agents, employees, representatives and persons shall not exceed the amount of our own liability, if any.
16.3.11 Nothing in these conditions of carriage shall waive any exclusion or limitation of our liability under the convention or applicable laws unless otherwise expressly stated.
16.4 International Carriage - Special Agreement
16.4.1 The provisions in this Article 16.4 do not bind any other carriers involved in your journey unless expressly indicated by them to you.
16.4.2 We agree that in respect of all international carriage of passengers, to which the convention applies, performed on flights or flight segments where our airline designator code appears in the carrier box of the ticket for that flight or flight segment:
188.8.131.52 We shall not invoke the limitation of liability in Article 22(1) for any claim for damages under Article 17 of the convention;
184.108.40.206 We shall not avail ourselves of any defence under Article 20(1) of the convention with respect to the portion of such claim which does not exceed 100,000 SDRs;
220.127.116.11 We shall without delay, and in any event not later than fifteen (15) days after the identity of the natural person entitled to compensation has been established, make such advance payments as may be required to meet immediate economic needs on a basis proportional to the hardship suffered;
18.104.22.168 Without prejudice to paragraph 22.214.171.124, an advance payment shall not be less than the equivalent in ECU's of 16,000 SDRs per passenger in the event of death;
126.96.36.199 An advance payment by us in terms hereof shall not constitute recognition of liability and may be offset against any subsequent sums paid on the basis of our liability, but is not returnable, except if we prove that the damage was caused by, or contributed to by, the negligence of the injured or deceased passenger or in circumstances where it is subsequently proved that the person who received the advance payment caused, or contributed to, the damage by negligence or was not the person entitled to compensation.
16.5 Unless so expressly provided nothing herein contained shall waive any exclusion or limitation of liability or other defence available to us under the convention or applicable laws. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing nothing herein contained shall waive any exclusion or limitation of liability or defence available to us under the convention or applicable laws in relation to death, wounding or other bodily injury as against any public social insurance or similar body or any person who is liable to pay compensation or has paid compensation in respect of the death, wounding or other bodily injury. Such claims shall be subject to the limit in Article 22(1) and to the defences under Article 20(1) of the convention. We will compensate the passenger or the passengers' dependants for recoverable compensatory damages in excess of payments received from any public social insurance or similar body.
16.5.1 Domestic Carriage in South Africa
For all carriage on our domestic services within the Republic of South Africa to which the convention does not apply, the limit of our liability to or for each passenger for death, wounding or other bodily injury shall be the sum of R1,000,000 (one million rand) inclusive of legal fees and costs subject to proof of the quantum of the claim and that the incident was the result of or was caused by negligence on our part, provided that this limit shall not apply to acts or omissions carried out with intent to cause damage or in a reckless manner, and with knowledge that damage would probably result.
Acceptance of baggage by the bearer of the baggage check without complaint at the time of delivery is sufficient evidence that the baggage has been delivered in good condition and in accordance with the contract of carriage, unless you prove otherwise.
If you wish to file a claim or an action regarding damage to checked baggage, you must notify us as soon as you discover the damage, and at the latest, within seven (7) days of receipt of the baggage. If your wish to file a claim or an action regarding delay of checked baggage you must notify us within twenty-one (21) days from the date on which the baggage was placed at your disposal. Every such notification must be made in writing and dispatched immediately after discovery of the damage or delay, and at the latest within the time limits aforesaid.
17.2 Limitation of Actions
Any right to damages shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within two (2) years of the date of arrival at destination, or the date on which the aircraft was scheduled to arrive, or the date on which the carriage stopped. The method of calculating the period of limitation shall be determined by the law of the court where the case is heard.
Note: For domestic carriage (i.e. wholly within the Republic of South Africa) the period of limitation shall be three years.