South African Airways (SAA) is the flag carrier of South Africa. Its headquarters are in Airways Park on the grounds of OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. The airline flies to 56 destinations worldwide, in partnership with SA Express, SA Airlink and its low-cost carrier, Mango, within South Africa and across the continent, and eight intercontinental routes from its Johannesburg hub at OR Tambo International Airport, using a fleet of 54 aircraft. Musa Zwane has been acting CEO since November 2015.
South African Airways was founded in 1934 after the acquisition of Union Airways by the South African government. The airline was initially overseen and controlled by South African Railways and Harbours Administration. Anti-apartheid sanctions by African countries deprived the airline of stopover airports during apartheid, forcing it to bypass the continent with long-range aircraft. During this time, it was also known by its Afrikaans name, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL), which has been dropped. In 1997 SAA changed its name, image and aircraft livery and introduced online ticketing services. In 2006, SAA split from Transnet, its parent company, to operate as an independent airline.
SAA is the official airline of the Association of Tennis Professionals. SAA owns Mango, a low-cost domestic airline, and has established links with Airlink and South African Express. It is a member of the Star Alliance.
South African Airways is headquartered in Airways Park on the grounds of OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.The building was developed by Stauch Vorster Architects. Completed in March 1997 for R70 million, the 27,000-square-metre (290,000 sq ft) current head-office building links to three older buildings. Two atriums bridge the buildings; the first has a canteen, and the second acts as a circulation hub. Planted courtyards lie between the old and new buildings.
South African Airways moved its head office from Durban to Rand Airport in Germiston on 1 July 1935. Before the head office moved to its current location, the airline’s head office was in the Airways Towers in Johannesburg.
South African Airways flies to 38 destinations in 26 countries in Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australasia. SAA, along with Air Canada, Air China, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Qantas and Qatar Airways is one of the few carriers to have services to all six inhabited continents. The airline has a strong presence in Southern Africa. Domestically, SAA operates to five cities, however the airline serves an even larger domestic and regional network through its affiliates, Mango, Airlink, and South African Express.
In December 2010, the airline announced that it would introduce 6 more routes in Africa including routes to Cotonou, Benin; Abuja, Nigeria; Madagascar; Republic of Congo; Cameroon and Burundi. SAA began flights to Beijing, China on 31 January 2012; in 2015, following financial troubles, the route was terminated.
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Standard Free Baggage Allowance
As a guide we have provided our standard checked baggage allowances, although there are exceptions based upon certain routes and ticket class. We therefore advise you to also check our baggage allowance exceptions below and, above all, take note of the baggage allowance attached to your booking on flysaa.com
SAA assesses baggage by number of pieces rather than their weight, although weight restrictions do apply.
|Standard free baggage allowance|
|Class of Travel||Weight per Piece||Sporting Equipment|
|Business Class||2 pieces not exceeding 32kg per piece||One piece of sporting equipment, not exceeding 23kg per piece|
|Economy Class||1 piece not exceeding 23kg||One piece of sporting equipment, not exceeding 23kg per piece|
Checked baggage dimensions
Please make sure your checked bags are within the dimensions outlined in the diagram. Bags greater than the dimensions provided are too large for airport conveyor belts and will not be accepted on the flight.
SAA welcomes you to bring as much baggage as you need (up to 3 pieces), but please bear in mind though, once you exceed your carry-on and checked-in baggage limits, additional baggage rates will apply.
Additional baggage will be assessed and must be paid for before boarding. Travellers also have the option of paying the charge for the entire journey or to your point of transfer, if you have a stopover. For those sectors of your journey where SAA is not your carrier, please check with the operating airline for their charges.
Additional Baggage Rates
For international and domestic travel the fees vary according to your destination, see our comprehensive charts to explain the fees. Please take note that the charges quoted below are per piece of baggage.
Need more baggage allowance? We understand that sometimes you need a larger allowance when relocating or going on an extended holiday. You can cut costs by sending your possessions as unaccompanied baggage through SAA Cargo.
We will try our best to have your baggage travel on the same flight as you, however we cannot guarantee this. Unaccompanied baggage can also only fly on the same route as your ticket.
Our friendly airport staff are always happy to help you check-in for your flight, issue your boarding pass and check-in your baggage. But why wait in a queue? Checking-in online is fast and efficient and gives you more time to do the things you want to do – whether that’s browse through duty-free or just arrive at the airport a little later.
You can also use the self-service kiosks in the check-in area, allowing you to bypass the check-in counters and take any baggage straight to the drop-off counter. Tap, tap, tap, and you’re good to go.
We walk you through the online check-in process below.
Do note that our self-service check-in facilities (online, mobile and kiosk) is not available for travel from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo. If you are departing from Dar es Salaam, please proceed to the check in counters for boarding pass issuance as the printing of online or mobile boarding passes are not available.
Checking-in online is so quick and easy that it will soon become an essential part of your flying routine. It’s so empoweringly addictive that you may never join a check-in queue again. And once you’re holding your self-printed boarding pass, you’ll feel like your journey has already begun.
You can check-in on your computer, tablet or smartphone via flysaa.com, or by using our mobi site at m.flysaa.com.
Flights open for online check-in 24 hours before departure time. If you haven’t already selected a seat, or you want to change the one you have, it’s smart to log in as soon as possible to request your chosen seat where applicable. If you’re travelling in a group you can check-in everyone at once, then print out the boarding passes or have them emailed to you.
Online check-in stays open up to 90 minutes before domestic departures and up to two hours before international flights.
If you don’t have a printer to print your boarding pass, you can print it at the self-service check-in kiosks at the airport or collect it from an SAA check-in counter.
What’s in it for you?
- No more queuing at the check-in counter
- Extra time to spend shopping, eating or just arriving at the airport later
- Pick your own seat, where applicable
- Add your frequent flyer number for more of those lovely Voyager Miles
- Print your own boarding pass or get the boarding pass sent to your phone as a mobile boarding pass
- Go straight to the bag drop-off counter, or straight to the boarding gate if you have hand luggage only
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