What Is South African Airways Baggage Allowance?

The flag carrier airline of South Africa has a lenient baggage policy, but what is South African Airways baggage allowance? And how strict is SAA with carry-on baggage?

The following information will provide everything about SAA luggage rules and regulations.

Let’s find out.


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What is SAA Cabin Baggage Allowance?

Standard hand baggage allowance:

Business class Guests are allowed to have 2 pieces of hand luggage not exceeding 8kg per piece. and a Max dimensions per piece of 56cm (l) 36cm (w) 23cm (h)

In addition to 2 pieces of hand luggage, Business class Guests are also allowed to carry one Personal item that can be a small handbag or small laptop bag.

Economy class Guests are entitled to have one piece of carry on baggage not exceeding 8kg with a max dimension(size) of 56cm (l) 36cm (w) 23cm (h)

In addition one carry on bag Economy class guests are also allowed to have one personal item that can be a small handbag or small laptop bag.

How strict is South African Airways with carry on baggage?

If your hand baggage does not conform to the size specified, you may be denied entry into the departure area or directed back to the check-in desks.

All hand baggage must fit either under the seat in front of you or in one of the overhead lockers. Hand baggage must not obstruct emergency exits or aisles.

Larger laptop bags and standard/bulkier briefcases are not considered a personal item and count towards your standard hand baggage allowance.

Star Alliance Gold members on either SAA or any Star Alliance partner operated flights will also be entitled to the above carry-on items.

SAA Checked baggage Allowance

Standard Checked baggage allowance

Guests traveling to to/from Canada and the U.S.:

  • Free Baggage Allowance: 2 pieces
  • Maximum Dimensions: 62 linear inches/157 cm (length + width + height)
  • Maximum Weight for Economy Class passengers: 50 lb/23 kg
  • Maximum Weight for First and Business Class passengers: 70 lb/32 kg
  • *Star Alliance Gold and Voyager members are allowed additional baggage.

Guests traveling in most other destinations:

  • Maximum Weight for Economy Class Passengers: 44 lb/20 kg total
  • Maximum Weight for Business Class Passengers: 66 lb/30 kg total
  • Maximum Weight for First Class Passengers: 88 lb/40 kg total
  • *Star Alliance Gold and Voyager members are allowed additional baggage.

Please note That exceptions are applied based upon certain destinations and booking tickets. South African airways advise to also  take note of the baggage allowance attached to your booking on flysaa.com

South African Airways Excess baggage Allowance

How much is extra baggage on South African Airways?

South African Airways want you to bring all the baggage you need for your itinerary without missing any item.

so it allows you to check up to (up to 3 pieces), but if you exceed your carry-on and checked-in baggage limits, additional baggage rates will apply.

Please note that extra baggage will be assessed and must be paid for before boarding. Guests have the option of paying the charge for the entire journey or to your point of transfer, if you have a connecting flight. 

For those sectors of your journey where South African Airways is not your carrier, please check with the operating airline for their charges. 

For codeshare flights, the operating carrier’s additional baggage rules and charges will apply.

Additional Baggage Fees

For international and domestic flights fees vary according to your route , see The South African Airways comprehensive charts to explain the fees.

Please take note that the charges quoted below are per piece of baggage.

The additional baggage rates below apply to SAA operated flights and does not include SA Express and Airlink flight.

What is the baggage allowance on international flights?

Between New York / Washington & Africa – via Johannesburg

CountryUSDLocal Currency
All countries / cities in Africa not specified below:USD 200USD 200
AfricaUSD 200USD 200
Accra / Dakar (direct service only)USD 200USD 200
South AfricaUSD 200ZAR 1200

Between USA & Africa – except Hawaii, Alaska

CountryUSDLocal Currency
All countries / cities in Africa not specified below:USD 250USD 250
Accra / Dakar (direct service only)USD 200USD 200
NamibiaUSD 250NAD 2050
South AfricaUSD 250ZAR 2050

Between Africa & Hawaii, Alaska & Mexico

CountryUSDLocal Currency
All countries / cities in Africa not specified below:USD 400USD 400
Accra / Dakar (direct service only)USD 350USD 350
NamibiaUSD 400NAD 2350
South AfricaUSD 400ZAR 2350
ZimbabweUSD 400USD 400

Between Canada & Africa

CountryUSD / Local CurrencyUSD / Local Currency
All countries / cities in Africa not specified below:CAD 250 / USD 250CAD 300 / USD 300
Accra / Dakar (direct service only)CAD 250 / USD 250CAD 300 / USD 300
NamibiaCAD 250 / NAD 1950CAD 300 / NAD 2050
South AfricaCAD 250 / ZAR 1950CAD 300 / ZAR 2050
ZimbabweCAD 250 / USD 250CAD 300 / USD 300

Please visit South African Airways additional baggage fees for more information

South African Airways Special Baggage Allowance

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.

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

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.

InstrumentMethod of Carriage
Bass tubaChecked/additional baggage
Bassoon (small)Checked/additional baggage
BanjoChecked/additional baggage or extra seat
Bass tromboneChecked/additional baggage
CelloChecked/additional baggage or extra seat
ContrabassoonChecked/additional baggage or extra seat
ClarinetHand baggage
Double bassChecked/additional baggage
FluteHand baggage
French hornChecked/additional baggage or extra seat
GuitarChecked/additional baggage or extra seat
OboeHand baggage
SaxophoneChecked/additional baggage or extra seat
TrumpetHand baggage
Viola (rectangular)Checked/additional baggage or extra seat
Violin (shaped)Hand baggage
Violin (rectangular)Checked/additional baggage or extra seat

Sport Equipment

Just as Musical instruments South African Airways charges on the following sports equipment may apply on both international and domestic flights.

Angling (fishing rods not exceeding 200cm)Football/SoccerRock Climbing: Helmets, rope bags, climbing harnesses and crash pads/ bouldering mats if not exceeding 200cm in length
ArcheryGolf (200 cm)Rugby
Athletics/Track and FieldIce and Field HockeySailing 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/SoftballHorse Riding: (saddle must be wrapped & stirrups must be tied & riding helmet)Snow/Water ski equipment
BasketballLacrosseSurfboards/kite surfing/paragliding – smaller than 200cm
CricketMotor-Sport: Protective riding gear & helmetTennis/Squash
Cycling (200cm – 100cm – 75cm)Motor-Cycle gear: Protective riding gear and helmet, motor cycle to be sent as cargoTen pin bowling
Diving/Scuba Equipment: Scuba tank must be emptyParachute Equipment (including helmet)Volleyball
Fencing (bag not exceeding 200cm)Polo Cross: Riding helmet, stick and balls

Quick Links

Disclosure:All information is pulled from The airline websites as a resource. Airline websites are the authority and can change at any time. For the latest information please visit the Airline website : www.flysaa.com