Hand Luggage Restrictions at South African Airports

[Updated: 7 December 2018]

When it comes to what you carry on to a plane, things have become stricter. ACSA has enforced new land luggage restrictions for domestic travel at airports across South Africa which came into effect 2 February 2015. Find out what you need to know for your next trip!

Economy Class passengers

At the crux of the new hand luggage regulations is that Economy Class passengers boarding a commercial aircraft are restricted to:

  • One bag + one slimline laptop bag per passenger.
  • No bag should exceed these dimensions: 36 x 23 x 56cm = total dimensions of 115cm, including handles and wheels.
  • Weight limit per bag: 7kg
  • In addition to your carry-on baggage, you may carry with you a handbag and overcoat.
  • Guests with infants seated on their laps are allowed to carry a small bag with the in-flight needs of the infant such as feeding bottles, nappies and medication.

Any hand luggage which exceeds the dimensions, piece and weight restrictions stipulated above will have to be checked-in. This could delay you, cause you to miss your flight, or incur extra charges so take heed of this announcement to avoid a frustrating domestic travel experience. The airlines are not accepting responsibility should you miss your flight due to incorrect hand baggage.

Hand Luggage Restrictions

Carry-on baggage restrictions for Business Class and First Class passengers

  • Two bags + one slimline laptop bag per business class/first class passenger.
  • No bag should exceed these dimensions: 36 x 23 x 56cm
  • Weight limit per bag: 7kg

How would you classify a slimline laptop?

A slimline laptop bag accommodates a laptop and a charger. It can be carried over the shoulder or in your hand. A slimline laptop bag does not have any wheels.

Are there exceptions?

Yes, if an airline has granted a passenger exception, a uniformed airline staff member will accompany the passenger to the security checkpoint. The airline staff member needs to confirm the exception to the security staff or any official manning the hand baggage control point. If a passenger wants to get approval for a greater baggage allowance, this can only be done by the airline.

In each of the cases above, a woman’s handbag and a man’s satchel / “man-bag” is considered part of dress code and is exempt from these regulations. Essentially what they are concerned with is people with large bags trying to pass these off as “hand luggage” in addition to bringing on regulation size hand luggage.

ACSA says

Airports Company South Africa will be supporting the airlines and the South African Civil Aviation Authority regulations with regards to hand luggage that is allowed within the cabin.

The principles of this campaign will be in the interest of ensuring compliance of the airline’s hand baggage policies and also in enhancing safety measures when flying.

The enforcement of this programme will be led by the airlines operating at Airports Company South Africa airports and supported by the airport authority.

Passengers who do not comply will be identified before the security checkpoints. In the event of hand baggage not being compliant, the passenger will be referred back to the check-in counters to check the baggage in as hold luggage.

hand luggage

Airlines say

Mango says it will not penalise travellers for additional bags that have to be checked in as a consequence of the new regulation as it does not charge per piece of baggage within its 20kg allowance.

Passengers using other low-cost airlines such as kulula and FlySafair need to be aware of the additional costs they could incur.

Kulula allows one free checked bag weighing up to 20kg and one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 7kg. Additional bags require passengers to pay between R320 (online – payable by credit card only) or R415 (at the airport). While FlySafair tickets include a hand luggage quota, checked baggage fees start at R155 (purchased online) and R250 (purchased at the airport). An extra bag will cost you R250.

Travelstart says

Always keep in mind peak travel seasons and longer queues over the holidays. Make sure you are well within the luggage restrictions to enable a seamless and hassle-free check-in experience for you and your fellow travellers.

Also check out:

Now that you’re equipped with the hand luggage restrictions start packing your bags and get ready for your next exciting trip. Sign up to Travelstart’s newsletter and get the best flight specials to incredible destinations!

What has your experience been with hand and check-in luggage at the airport? Let us know in the comments below.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi Travelstart.

    I live in Durban and I will be going to Istanbul on holiday. I have selected Qatar airlines for my journey to Istanbul and I’m really excited.

    My flight ticket online, shows Qatar airlines flight code “QR” for each flight starting from Durban King Shaka International airport, to Johannesburg OR Tambo airport, to Hamad Dhoa airport and finally to Istanbul airport, and the opposite for the return trip.

    However, my online ticket states that my flight from Durban to Johannesburg for my departure voyage and my flight from Johannesburg to Durban on my return voyage is “controlled” by Kulula airlines, even though all flights on the online ticket show Qatar airlines code “QR” for every flight that I will be on.

    My concern is, I will be carrying my soft “Volkano” brand backpack with me as my hand luggage, and its dimensions are 45.50cm x 37cm x 22cm respectively, and while my backpack’s dimensions meet the maximum dimensions of Qatar airlines hand luggage allowance, it unfortunately exceeds the maximum dimensions of Kulula airlines hand luggage allowance by 1cm in terms of the width of the backpack.

    Keep in mind that the weight of my backpack with all of its contents weighs in at just under 6kg.

    I respectfully ask you, will I still be able to take my backpack with me on my journey? or will Kulula airlines have a problem with this, because of the additional 1cm of width?

    Additionally, will Qatar airlines hand luggage dimensions and allowance’s, as well as their checked luggage dimensions and allowance’s, take precedence over those of Kulula airlines allowances of the same?

    Kind Regards, I love your website.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      This is what we call codeshare, where airlines enter into a commercial arrangement whereby one sells seats on a flight operated by the other, with each airline using their own flight number.

      You would need to look on your ticket to see if the luggage allowance shows the same for all sectors or not. However for 1cm I think you should be ok. Just make sure the weight of your checked baggage meets the requirements.

      To get the most up to date info on your baggage allowance we recommend you contact the agency who you booked with or airline direct and they will b e able to provide you with the most up to date information.

  2. Hi, more of an enquiry, I heard that you have to have a proper suit case for checked in luggage and not allowed a duffle bag, or it has to be plastic wraped. Is this true? Or is it maybe just applicable for international flights? We are travelling Joburg to Cape Town via Kalula and Safair.

    • Hi Jessica,

      Best to check with the airline direct. Every airline could have different baggage policies.

  3. Hi, I’m flying to Argentina and Brazil, I’m only taking hand luggage and a handbag. I’m flying economy class.
    My first question would be am I allowed to take my bag that weights 7kg and a handbag with extra stuff in it, like my book, my tickets, my phone and chargers, passport, etc. Aswell or is the one bag limit the limit?
    Second question, how much liquids in total is allowed in my hand luggage?
    Thank you

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      One is allowed one carry on bag of 7kgs and a handbag to carry your necessities like ticket, phone, wallet, book etc

      You welcome to read through our blog:

      A guide to travelling with liquids: http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/liquids-in-luggage/ to get more information on this.

  4. I fully understand the dimensions due to the limitation of the overhead bin. Although recently (3 Nov 2018) I bought a new carry on luggage measuring 54Lx37Wx22D from Cellini (model 86351)… fully labeled carry-on. That 37W worry me as the limit is 36 for width.

    I got this bag because my previous Cellini bought in 2008 weighted 4.5kgs, leaving me with less than 2.5kgs of clothes to pack. Whilst the new Cellini I bought weights 2.75kg, I am still restricted to 4.25kg of clothes.

    I have cheated since I bought the case, as I get to just under 10kgs when packing the new case for a business trip. I cheated, thanks god they did not weigh my luggage but I suspect the day will come. I think the 7kg limit should be increased to 10kg which makes much more sense. Can you enlighten me as to the rationale of the 7kg and where can the public partition to have the new measures reconsidered, especially the weight.

  5. I know that my limits are; 7-10kg hand luggage and 20-23kg check in luggage for international flights but.. Id like to take my desktop computer (8kg) as well as my laptop (2kg) with me when I move to Thailand end of the year. So my question is, if my hand luggage fits the maximum size (Ive got a small case) and fits in overhead but is overweight, will it be okay? Also ill be putting my clothes into my check in bag, which will be much lower that 20kg..

    • Hi William,

      Thanks for the interesting question.

      For this you would need to contact the airline you are travelling with. They will need to check their carry on luggage policy and will advise accordingly.


    • Hi Alf,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      This should not be a problem but I would recommend you contact the airline you will be flying with direct to see what they advise.

  7. Please tell me am I allowed to crochet on the flight?

    • Hi Gerda,

      Thanks for the interesting question.

      I don’t think this would be possible as one would not be able to take the needles onto the flight.

  8. Hi.

    I have a bag that is 51 cm x 30 cm x 29 cm = 110 cm total dimension. Would I be allowed to take it on board as hand luggage?

    • Hi Lynette,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Best to contact the airline you are travelling with.

      The blog post we wrote was 2015 where we mentioned:

      No bag should exceed these dimensions: 56cm + 36cm + 23cm = total dimension of 115cm including handles and wheels.
      Weight limit per bag: 7kg.

      New regulations could have come into place so best to contact the airline you flying with to see what the new weight restrictions are as well as dimensions.

      56cm (L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H)

  9. Hi im travelling from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth shortly and are on prescription meds.I suffer from epileptic seizures and also had recent stroke.Im i allowed to have my meds in my hand luggage or do i need a doctors letter?

    Also is it safe for people suffering from epilepsy to fly?

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’ve heard of passengers travelling with their chronic medicine like (eplim) in their hand luggage without taking a doctors note and never been asked for one.

      However it is best to contact the airline you are travelling with to see if they would require this as well as your neurologist to get consent to see if you are able to fly.

  10. thanks for sharing great information with us.

  11. Thanks for sharing the wonderful information with us.

  12. Hi Guys,

    So I understand that it is 56 x 36 x 23 = 115 cm …. but is it strictly limited to that ?
    What if it’s 55 x 40 x 20 = 115 cm?

    I just want to clarify (perhaps a stupid question), especially as a lot on sale that I am currently seeing, is the latter.

    Thanks 😉

    • Hi Chase,

      To my knowledge it’s the size they airline has given, that passengers need to stick to. However I would suggest you contact the airline direct you will be traveling with. They will be able to provide you with the most up to date information.

  13. so if what i am reading is true i will be unable to carry my legally sized peli camera case as it will be over the weight limit?

    • Hi there,

      Please contact the airline you are traveling with, as this blog was written in January 2015

      The airline will be able to provide you with the most up to date information on the checked and carry on baggage allowance.

  14. I am flying from Washington DC to Johannesburg on South African Airlines in September. Just wanted to make sure of the correct weight of the bag: 7kg. We had seen on their site that the bag weight was 8kg.
    Thoughts? Which one is correct?
    Thank you.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      We would need to have access to your booking in order to advise what your baggage allowance is. The only way we have access is if the booking was made through Travelstart.

      If you have done so you welcome to e-mail info@travelstart.com and one of our skilled agents will gladly assist in answering your baggage query.

  15. What if my husband’s laptop bag is a backpack laptop bag and his camera in a camera bag???

    • Hi Elize,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you will need to contact the airline he is traveling with they will be able to advise if they will accept it or not.

  16. Hi,
    I am permanently on crutches, the long ones that are under arm,i will soon be flying on SAFair,and was wondering if my crutches are allowed to be put in hand luggage space,i can unfortunately not use the short type crutches as my wrists are not strong enough because of osteoarthritus. am i allowed to put the long length crutches above my seat?
    thank you.

    • Hi Linda,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      To my knowledge I don’t think this would be possible, you might need to contact the airline for wheelchair assistance. Your crutches might need to go as checked baggage. However only the airline will be able to advise this.

  17. “The airlines are not accepting responsibility should you miss your flight due to incorrect hand baggage”.
    Such a silly responsible airlines. But be careful choosing luggages while travelling to South Africa.

  18. hi sir,madam next month iam going to india can i take my television with me if i put my television in my baggage any problem. thank you.

    • Hi Shankar,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I do not think this would be possible. I do suggest you contact the airline you are traveling with direct as this would be their rules and they would be able to advise you accordingly.

  19. I totally agree with this policy and better to be very strict. I hope this baggage restriction applies not only to South Africa but to all flights extensively. So better to weigh our luggage before leaving home and understand the size and weight luggage restrictions to avoid any conflicts that cause the delay of the flight or miss your flight.

  20. Awww. What a restriction! Thanks for all the link shares for baggage policy. Helps!

    Tommy, content editor @ luggagerate

  21. I’m traveling with South African airways on an international flight. Would I be allowed to take my carry on, laptop bag and handbag as a lady. I’m so confused and do not want any issues at the airport. Has any one tried this before?

  22. Hi

    Just want to know if my vanity case will be allowed for hand baggage ??

    • Hi Marillie,

      Depends what you are taking in your vanity case.

      Please see link below which I have found on SAA website with regards to taking liquids onboard.

      Also no sharp objects, as they will be confiscated. Even tweezers and nail clippers

      Its best to go onto the airlines website you are traveling and check to see what their baggage policy is.


  23. Hello I’m flying Business class on a Emirates flight from JHB to DXB and again from DXB to Muscat final destination, I was wondering if I’m allowed to bring along my phone charger inside my hand luggage so that I can charge it at the business lounge?

    • Hi Lara,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      It should not be a problem to take your cell phone charger in your hand luggage.

  24. Good day

    If I would like to take say 5 bottels of wine as my hand luggage for the Christmas season from Cape Town to East London would that be possible?


    • Hi Talitha,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      hanks for getting in touch.

      I am not sure if the same applies to domestic flights. However please see below. It’s best you contact the airline you are traveling with direct to see what the restriction are with regards to traveling with liquids onboard.

      If you are travelling overseas, you will need to follow the new international security regulations that limit the quantity of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in your hand luggage. Please make sure that the liquids you carry on board are packaged and transported in the following manner:
      Liquids, gels and aerosols must be kept in containers of 100ml each.
      They must be packed in a 20x20cm transparent, re-sealable plastic bag.
      Only one bag is allowed per passenger, and it must be shown at airport security.
      Exemptions will be made for medications, baby products, and special dietary requirements. Duty free purchases such as cigarettes, liquor and perfume are also permitted in reasonable quantities.

  25. Good day Marcelle.

    Travelling to Cape Town now on the 5th from Johannesburg. Have a bottle of whiskey I want to take as a gift for my mate. Can I do this and can I take it in my hand luggage? Also want to take my hubbly with and all the flavour and coal, can I take this in my luggage.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I am not sure if the same applies to domestic flights. However please see below. It’s best you contact the airline direct to see what they advise:

      If you are travelling overseas, you will need to follow the new international security regulations that limit the quantity of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in your hand luggage. Please make sure that the liquids you carry on board are packaged and transported in the following manner:
      Liquids, gels and aerosols must be kept in containers of 100ml each.
      They must be packed in a 20x20cm transparent, re-sealable plastic bag.
      Only one bag is allowed per passenger, and it must be shown at airport security.
      Exemptions will be made for medications, baby products, and special dietary requirements. Duty free purchases such as cigarettes, liquor and perfume are also permitted in reasonable quantities.

  26. can i wear watch and ring.can i have mytablets

    • Hi Morris,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      Yes passengers are allowed to wear a watch and ring. When they scan your luggage at the security check point, they do ask you to take it off and put it through the scanner with all your other valuables.

      With regards to medicine, yes one is permitted to take it on board but you will need a doctors letter, as sometimes they might ask for this.

  27. Dear Marcelle .

    i am flying with Air France in December to Ireland, i have just confirmed with the air line that our hand luggage is 12kg and im flying economy, does this rule apply to all airlines. I also would like to know am i allowed to take a bottle of liqueur in my checked luggage for a gift for my sister.


    • Hi Bonnita,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      That is correct carry on baggage for Air France is 12kgs.

      Most of the other airlines are 7kgs or 8kgs, depending on the airline.

      With regards to taking liquids onboard, passengers are not able to take more than 100ml

      If this exceeds it, it will be confiscated when your bags are scanned.

  28. I am a student travelling on sunday from Asian countries to Africa after an exchange school visit. I have with me 2 laptops, mine and my schoolmate’s. What should I do. Should I put these two in one laptop bag?

    • Hi Masidankhoma,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You welcome to carry them in your carry on luggage as long as you do not exceed the weight limit.

      Alternatively you will need to pack them into your checked baggage which goes in the hold of the aircraft.

  29. We are flying Emirates to London tomorrow. I am confused about what cabin baggage is allowed. May I take my overtnight bag (Correct measurements) as well as my handbag which will contain my chronic medication as well as toiletries.

    • Hi Maureen,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Economy Class passengers are permitted one (1) piece of carry-on baggage, either a handbag or laptop bag, subject to the following size and weight limitations:

      Handbag: 55 x 38 x 20cm (22 x 15 x 8 inches)

      Weight must not exceed 7kg (15lb). Duty free purchases of liquor, cigarettes and perfume in reasonable quantities are also permitted in addition to the above.

      You must be able to lift your own bag into the overhead locker. Cabin crew can assist you if you are elderly, travelling with young children or have a condition that requires support.

      Depending on the medication you might need a doctors certificate. You will need to contact the airline to see if they request this or not.

  30. Here’s something I’m trying to figure out. I’m travelling business class on SAA from CPT > JHB > Munich. According to SAA’s site, their carry on restrictions for business class are two items, 8kg max each, within the specified dimensions: 56cm (L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H).

    I’ve got a small backpack with me, and want to carry on my motorcycle helmet too. Problem is, it’s an awkward size… more like 46cm x 33cm x 25cm. It adds up to less than 115cm (and weighs a mere 1.5kg), but I’m not sure if the shape is an issue. The SAA site is unclear as to how strict the actual dimensions are (vs the overall size and weight).

    Any ideas?

    • Hi Wesley,

      Thanks for the interesting question.

      I can’t see this being a problem as it should be able to fit in the over head compartment. However only the SAA check-in staff will be able to confirm this.

      I suggest you contact them direct and they should be able to answer any queries you might have.

  31. My daughter & I will be flying to the UK at the end of the month. I will be carrying a hand bag & a racksack
    with toiletries & my daughter will be carrying a bag with her laptop & I-Pad including a charger & 2 plugs. Will this be suitable for our flight.

    • Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      This really depends on the volume of liquid you will be carrying.

      Liquids carried must be in a container of no more than 100ml All liquids should be carried in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of up to 20cm x 20cm with a total capacity of up to a litr You must be able to completely close the bag and be able to fit it in your hand baggage.
      The bag of liquids must be taken out of other hand baggage to be screened separately. No sharp objects like nail scissors or tweezers may be taken in hand luggage.

      You can also check directly on the airlines website of what they permit passengers to take on-board in their hand luggage.

  32. I recently flew on a domestic flight from jhb to durban, my luggage has built in locks, aswel as me having them wrapped. When i arrived at my mothers house, i asumed having a shower before meeting the family for dinner would be an easy task… to my horror, my luggage was re wrappe, but the locks were not locked. All my toiletries and 2 pairs of shoes were stolen. When i called the airport i was told “you fly at your own risk”.
    So now im flying tomorrow and have packed all my toiletries as hand luggage…lets see what they say?

  33. we need to enlightening our self on one area, the baggage we are talking about and those people handling it, their is no security for checked in baggage’s, because those people working in that department they will trow your bags anyhow so that the bag can bust open for them to be able to steal from it, sometimes you find your bags Tyre totally destroy because of the way they trow them anyhow, they don’t care if the bag get damage or how you will carry it after desembacking from the flight, and after that when things go wrong the airline will start there rubbish and at the end you end up loosing your valuable goods,what can we say about this.

  34. Weight limitation on luggage can be a difficult aspect to get around to. High-quality luggage that will protect valuable items are often made of strong, sturdy material that are, unfortunately, heavy as well. The luggage bag alone will contribute significantly to the weight, and it will be hard for passengers to figure out just how to carry all their valuables without going over the weight limit.

  35. I’m a photographer. I paid R7k for a bag that is within the size limitations of hand luggage, but still protects my huge investment in gear. The problem is, the bag weighs 4kg by itself. Even if I took my gear in a Pick n Pay packet, it would still weigh more than 7kg! (prob be around 11kg – which to me is still reasonable).

    The airline overhead compartments are rated to hold more than 40kg per 3 seats, who made up up this 7kg rule? Honestly, why? I understand the need to limit morons from bringing too much luggage on board, but a 7kg weight limitation (irrespective of the size of the bag) is ridiculous. It immediately forces all professional photographers (and other industries with similar gear) from being able to keep their expensive equipment with them. Now, I have to take my camera bag as a “checked in” bag (normally with additional fees), through security and then get it loaded as fragile. In the end, it ends up on the same conveyor belt with all the other bags to be jumped on and pilfered. This is ridiculous!

    I understand the size limitation. I do not understand the weight limitation!

  36. Hi Marcelle,

    I am a photographer and I travel with 16Kgs of camera equipment in a bag which fits into the overhead locker and it meets with the size requirements. The equipment costs between R250K-R300K depeding on the lenses I take along. I have visited 32 countries and have done numerous flights. Not once has my bag dropped out nor have I seen many pieces of luggage drop out of the overhead locker. Those pieces which drop out are usually shopping bags which have been stuffed into the locker on top of other luggage or handbags etc. I am taking 2 Americans and 1 NZ photographer around Southern Africa in August and I am yet to find an airline who has created a user-friendly solution for people with reasonably sized but expensive and slightly heavy carry on luggage. It is disgraceful and ridiculous. Surely the airlines can create a fee and we will gladly pay it but make it user -friendly. Reading the BA fine-print, even Business Class passengers are only allowed one carry-on bag. Am I allowed to purchase two economy class tickets on the same flight? Please do not resort to quoting that which has been said already. It is frustrating. Rather ignore the questions or make a workable recommendation. Alternatively, tell the airlines to find a solution and advise which of them are prepared to be proactive. Photographers can then use their services.

  37. As a teenager I do not own a laptop bag. Would a schoolbag still be fine?

    • Hi Lorain,

      This depends on the weight and size of your school bag. You are allowed 7 kgs of hand luggage within the correct size restrictions.

      If you are wanting to take hand luggage, plus a school bag I don’t think this would be permitted. You are welcome to contact the airline directly which you are traveling with and they should be able to answer any queries you might have, as it is up to their discretion.

  38. Hi there,
    We are travelling to London on Air France…..I have checked on their website and it states the following
    with regards to their hand baggage allowance –

    To be accepted in the cabin, your hand baggage must not exceed the following dimensions: 55 x 35 x 25 cm / 21 x 13 x 9 in (including pockets, wheels and handles).

    Please note: a suit bag is considered as one standard baggage item.
    In addition to your hand baggage, you may also transport 1 accessory.

    This includes your choice of one of the following:
    Notebook computer
    Camera, etc.
    The total combined weight of your hand baggage and accessory must not exceed 12 kg / 26 lb or 18 kg / 39 lb, depending on your travel cabin.

    So, does this new rule stated in the article above apply or do I go by what the airline actually states?

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You would go by the airlines baggage rules. Each airline has a different baggage policy, and ACSA is just assisting the airlines in enforcing this the baggage restriction.

  39. Although these steps are not in favor of travelers, but they take such initiatives for quality of service to facilitate as much ass possible customers.

  40. Hi I am travelling to South Africa from Zambia next week. However, since I am in the middle of my academic dissertation, I would like to carry my laptop along so that for the 7 days I will be in RSA, I do not lose time on my school work.

    What is the best way for me to carry my laptop hustle free. I always carry it in a backpack (school bag) sized.

    • Hi Patrice,

      Thank you for getting in touch.

      To avoid disappointment I would recommend carrying your laptop as hand luggage so it does not get damaged or lost.

      You can carry it in a slimline laptop bag, this accommodates a laptop and a charger. It can be carried over the shoulder or in one’s hand.

      Alternatively you can put your laptop in your backpack, which can not exceed the dimensions; piece and weight restrictions for hand luggage stipulated by the airline.

  41. Last Friday 20 February 2015, I contacted by email both of the below addresses- ‘Baggageservices@flysaa.com’; ‘SAAcustomerservices@flysaa.com’ – regarding with the message:

    I am travelling to Lusaka on SAA – SA/ZRGO8L on 7th March 2015 and want to take with me as booked baggage:
    1. My suitcase – meets normal weight and size dimensions for storage and
    2. A guitar – as FRAGILE
    Please advise what I should be doing to enable this

    Nineen Miller

    The only response to date, one week on is autoresponses “Welcome to South African Airways Baggage Services. We acknowledge receipt of your e-mail and will revert back to you shortly.” As I fly next week what now.

    • Hi Nineen,

      My suggestion would be is to contact SAA or go into one of their offices or directly to the airport.

      SAA contact number is: 011 978 1111 or 0861 606 606

      One of the Customer Service Agents should be able to assist on their baggage policies.

      Best of luck!

  42. Will be travelling to Zambia on SAA and planning to take a guitar, less than 7 kg but which is 100 cm long bagged.

    Will this be allowed and if not how does on enable that it is managed as “FRAGILE” if checked.

    • Hi Nineen,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Your carry on baggage allowance needs to fit within the size restrictions of the airlines rules and regulations. They do make exceptions sometimes, where they might allow passengers to take their musical equipment on-board, however it is up to their discretion.

      You are welcome to contact SAA direct and see if they will allow it as carry on baggage or not. If this is not possible it will have to go as checked baggage, where it will be marked as fragile.

  43. I travel to the USA once a year and always take 1 hand luggage (not a large bag)
    and instead of a handbag I use a backpack which holds water, reading matter and my laptop
    As this is a very long flight a handbag is useless. With a backpack my hands are free .

    Will this backpack now be a problem???

    • Hi Claudine,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If your carry on luggage does not fit the requirement of what the airline has given to all passengers, it will be a problem at check-in.

      As long as its within the required measurements and weight and the items inside your bag are within the limit, you should not have a problem.

  44. Does 7kg apply for hand luggage to australia on saa as well.

    • Hi Verna,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      As we are not able to call up your booking and see your flight details (if its a code share flight or not) We are not able to give the correct information.

      If it is a pure SAA flight, the carry on baggage is 8kgs. I’ve gone onto their website to confirm this.

      Please find link below.


  45. ACSA is trying to get into IATA’s shoes.
    This is what IATA endorses:

    Airlines set cabin baggage rules in order to comply with space at disposal in the aircraft and as a matter of commercial policy.
    Carry-on baggage must be stowed in the cabin, which limits baggage to a size, weight and shape to fit under a passenger seat, or in a storage compartment. Some aircraft have very limited cabin baggage space, and even on larger aircraft, your bag may be taken from you. .
    If you are changing carriers during your journey you may be asked to check some of your cabin baggage as EACH AIRLINE WILL APPLY THEIR OWN POLICY to each of their own flights. It is worth checking with your airline(s) before you travel as to their policies.

    • Hi Monti,

      Great to hear from you, and thanks for sharing this very important information which is part of IATA rules, with regards to Cabin Luggage, which ACSA has set into place since 2011 but now enforcing it.

  46. Baggage Wrapping has been proven world wide to hold many benefits and deters pilfering!

    Visit http://www.facebook.com/5boplws … notably to be the most cost effective baggage wrapper in the country, without compromising qaulity and using a 20micron clear plastic, operating ONLY from Lanseria Airport

  47. Well, you know what, the Photographic Industry is already suffering from the crisis, plus the rise of the USD, but now, with such STUPID RULES, it’s obvious that LESS and LESS photographers, not only amateurs, but also pros like me, will just say GOOD BYE to Southern Africa… We will spend our MONEY somewhere else where people have a brain.

    I read some comments made by real golden IDIOTS who talk about there rules without any clue about what traveling is.
    Traveling IS MY PROFESSION, as a PROFESSIONNAL WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER and GUIDE. And I HAVE TO travel with a BIG EQUIPMEN, VERY VERY VERY EXPENSIVE. And obviously, no way to chek-in this kind of gear…
    Every year I bring people from Europe, as a Guide and Tour Leader… All my clients have a big equipment like me, and 7 Kg it’s just the weith of my back-pack and ONE medium size LENS.
    That means, for me, and my clients, if we can’t carry the usual equipment, we will go somewhere else.

    Not good for the economy, and I believe that the South African Economy need incomes from US, Europe and Asia thanks to the Photographic Safaris Industry…

    So… you see, it’s not to carry stupid things in our big bags…. Just to give you an Idea, in my photographic bag, I have something like 380.000,00 ZAR of gear.. It’s not an option to check-in this bag, trust me…

    • Hi Chris,

      Great to hear from you.

      This rule has already been enforced overseas. I have just come back from the United States in December. While sitting at the boarding gate, the ground staff where tagging passengers carry on luggage which was over 7kgs and sending it at checked baggage.

      The airline is doing this for safety reasons for their passengers. In the event of turbulance overhead compartments can open causing luggage to fall out and cause injuries.

      It is mentioned that the airlines are understanding and granting passengers exception if a professional photographer or reporter have to travel with expensive equipment. For this the passenger will need to contact the airline direct for them to authorize this.

      Airlines set cabin baggage rules in order to comply with space at disposal in the aircraft and as a matter of commercial and safety policy.

  48. The person crying about this new law, i belief you were not on the flight to Hong Kong a vew months back, people got injured on that flight. from bagadge that fell from the lockers.dew to terbilance If you do not want to obay thees rules, ,,,,walk with your feet. Or take a taxi

    • Hi Manie,

      This is very true. That is another reason why ACSA is enforcing this rule, for safety reasons.

  49. The luggage limit flying Jhb to London via Emirates is 30 Kgs for checked baggage. I start my journey with a Nelspruit to Jhb flight where the Checked baggage limit is 20 or 23 Kgs.

    Is it not time that all these airline started talking to each other?

    Look forward to your reply

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      If a passenger purchases what they call a “through ticket”, meaning all sectors are on one booking / and have the same fare basis for all sectors, they are usually allowed to check their bags straight through from their departing city right through to their arrival destination allowing them to get the 30kgs of baggage allowance. If one purchases 2 separate tickets then the airline see’s this as two separate bookings.

      I have done a search using your e-mail address, however I was not able to locate your booking, which means I can not advise accordingly in your case.

      Every airline has different rules and regulations like any company. Usually the Middle Eastern airlines baggage allowance are slightly higher. Same applies to routings around the world. When one is traveling to the United States they work on a “piece concept” and passengers are usually aloud 2 pieces of checked baggage.

      I hope the above helps, and thank you for your query.

    • Agree Steve! Flying from SA to Lagos allows 2 x 30kg checked in luggage. However, Lagos to Abuja (Domestic Flight) only allows 1 x 20 kg checked in luggage. The rest is charged as excess luggage which must be paid in cash – no card facility at the airport. It costs a fortune so even if one can take all your promotional material etc along from here, you’re stuck on the other side.

    • Hi Ria,

      This is a commercial decision with regards to luggage policy. Usually the domestic flight have less luggage allowance due to the aircraft type being smaller. Also the more luggage they allow passengers to have the more fuel is used, which means fares increase for passengers.

      Some airlines also try use the extra baggage allowance as a selling tool. Saying fly with us and you get 30kgs of checked baggage instead of 23kgs.

  50. Looks like Kenya and Tanzania are going to be very happy at the boost that their safari industries are going to get with this decision. Put simply no photographer can fly internally in SA any more with this decision. Flying with expensive camera equipment has become a total lottery as to whether there will be an objection or not – most of us would happily pay a reasonable supplement just to know that we could fly with our gear as hand luggage but that never seems to be an option. You simply can’t check your gear and get insurance cover – and no airline offers a guarantee that we can fly with the gear in a cabin as a special exemption.

    • Hi,

      Great to hear from you.

      This rule was already implemented in 2011, however ACSA is just assisting the airlines in enforcing this. I can understand not wanting to check expensive camera equipment through as checked baggage allowance, but they do need to have strict guide lines as others tend to abuse the system. This is also due to safety and the airlines need to cover themselves and look out for the safety of their passengers.

      In saying this the airlines do try assist passengers where possible by granting exceptions for additional carry on luggage, if they are professional photographers, reporters or musicians. This will need to be done directly with the airline as only they would be able to assist by endorsing the booking.

    • I currently travel to Kenya with all my gear and Turkish Airlines are happy with me taking it so with this new ruling my planned trip to Sth Africa is now not on. I also have a form with all the gear listed even down to the last memory card & the price & if I am asked to put my gear underneath I will get the check in person & supervisor who is a representative of the airline to take personally & jointly all responsibility. Watch them run away from that one. Some one taking responsibility is not on their wish list. Imaging the person on the check in desk being hit with a bill for replacement of gear.

  51. I guess all the safari companies will have to relocate elsewhere. No photographer is going to want to check US$20,000 worth of equipment. Our bags can fit the size requirements, but they will never fit the weight. Or we just all start wearing huge photo vests and stuff the pockets until we are through security.

  52. I travel to Sth Africa & other African countries for the purpose of photography. I carry with me some $35,000 worth of camera gear. Bodies & lens’s. I have a list of all my gear which I carry on. All the gear is expensive and fragile. I carry this on as hand luggage and yes it is more than 7k. Would this gear be available for an exemption. If I have to put it underneath who is going to take responsibility for it and if it is lost or damaged who is going to replace it so my trip there is not wasted. Some one has to be responsible.



  53. Am I reading this correctly – does this only apply to domestic flights? Or international too? So someone who flies to SA from the USA where their carry on fits the correct size limits – they never weigh the bags there – suddenly has to comply with different criteria when checking in for the onward flight to Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania etc? There is nowhere on the SAA website where one can contact anyone to apply for exemption either…this ruling appears to have been ill-considered!

    • Hi Daryl,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      The campaign we released on Hand Luggage restrictions is for Domestic flights in saying this, it does apply in the US as well. I just came back from the States in December and they have enforced this rule already. While waiting at the boarding gate I saw numerous passengers bags being tagged and the airlines ground staff sending it to the hold, as they did not comply with the carry on baggage restrictions, by weighing it at home before.

      In South Africa this rule was implemented in 2011, however ACSA is just assisting the airlines in enforcing it now.

      On some flights the check-in staff weighed our carry on luggage before others not. However the airlines have advised their passengers of the cabin luggage restrictions before hand, on their website, allowing passengers to have the correct checked baggage allowance upon check-in.

      The airlines are also trying to accommodate their passengers if they need to get approval for a greater allowance, this can only be done by the airline. If you are travelling with SAA you are welcome to contact them on 011 978 1111 provide them with your booking reference number and they should be able to assist accordingly.

      Best of Luck!

  54. So, I may as well inform my photographer friends from the UK, US and Europe not to visit South Africa then…. for as serious and pro photographers most of them carry more than 7kg of camera equipment… and all as cabin carry on luggage….. for my part my bag just falls in the limits, but 7kg… ha ha ha… so which of my R10 000+ lenses must I pack in my hold luggage.. because there is a better than 25% chance of it being stolen or damaged… and will insurance pay out… I don’t think so…

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      I hear your concerns, and would not feel comfortable checking in my expensive camera equipment either. However the airlines trying to accommodate their passengers by granting approval for a greater allowance if need be. If they are professional photographers, reporters etc. This will need to be done directly with the airline, you will be able to contact the airline you traveling with direct, and they can assist accordingly but endorsing the booking.

  55. Hi Marcelle. Do you perhaps have more info for me. I am getting worried about what I will have to do. Many thanks

    • Hi Magda,

      Unfortunately I have had no reply from the airline as yet. I can provide you with another number, hopefully they will be able to assist: 011 978 1111

      As soon as I have information I will be in contact with you.

  56. Thanks Marcelle. I appreciate your reply. I have phoned this number 3 times today already. They only deal with lost and found. I asked for the manager on duty and he/she will not take the call. I will try tomorrow morning again. Afterwards I will need some more assistance to solve this issue
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Magda,

      I’ll contact the airline directly and see if I can try get another number or further information on the correct procedure to follow.

      Once I have feedback and will contact you via e-mail.

      Have a good evening.

  57. Can somebody please give me a contact number at SAA for permission to take my photograpic equipment worth more thanR200k as cabin baggage. It is in one bag of the correct dimensions. It just weighs more than7kg. I have phoned SAA Was transferred from one person to another for 2 hours. Nobody knew who could approve it. Reservations tried to put in a special request on my reservation to Botswana. Declined. I need urgently help with a contact number from SAA that can really assist me.

    • Hi Magda,

      Great to hear from you.

      I have gone directly onto http://www.flysaa.com website and found the following number:

      Baggage Services Tel: +27 (0)11 978 3733

      They should be able to assist. Or when contacting them, ask to speak to a manager on duty or supervisor as they should be able to put an authorization into the booking.

      Best of Luck!

  58. Hi there. In 2011 I had two diamond rings plus a gold wedding band stolen from my luggage which went into the ‘hold’…..please tell me that you have had these thieves arrested and put in prision!

  59. Just like a fellow photographer mentioned in an earlier comment, I travel with roughly R250K in camera equipment over multiple flights over five months of the year. I can gaurantee one of two things will happen if I check it in (1) it will be stolen and the airline or ACSA or not responsible (2) it will be damaged/broken and I will arrive on location unable to do my job and quickly become unemployed.

    Being able to request exemption is great, thank you, but how much time is this going to waste when the check-in staff has to walk photographers to security each and every time along with the time wasted waiting for a supervisor to approve the request! I have a suggestion, implement a once off application system and create a card of sorts which shows the traveller is allowed their equipment on board.

    I understand some travellers abuse the current system, if I didn’t Have to travel expensive equipment I would happily travel with just one small bag.

    Please feel free ACSA to contact me for suggestions or help in doing this.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Nice to hear from you and thanks for the suggestion. Lets hope ACSA sees this post, as one can understand not wanting to send valuable equipment as checked baggage.

      Great feedback Kelly, thanks again!

  60. i am a proffesional touring musician for many years now and have noticed that international understanding for musicians taking expensive instruments on board with them has increased and special rules in place to help professionals in the music and film industry. However in South Africa it seems there is no understanding. I have locally checked in instruments in strong flight cases and have seen them been destroyed. Now I travel with my handmade R60,000 guitar, but in South Africa it is a stress every time I fly. Is it going to get harder for musicians to travel, especially with the Cape Town jazz festival around the corner?

    • Hi Carlo,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Yes I can believe it is stressful, as this is expensive equipment and one needs it on a daily basis as its part of ones job.

      It is mentioned that the airline does make exceptions though, however the passenger will need to contact the airline they are travelling with directly for them to approve this. It can be a bit time consuming but rather have ones valuable equipment on-board with them for peace of mind.

      Lets hope in the near future the airlines will come up with a solution where they will allow musicians, photographers and professional dancers traveling with valuables for their work, to obtain a once off card, where they have it on record and can make allowance for them each time they travel.

  61. Hi, I will b travelling from pmb to jhb and have excess luggage, wat r the costs involved,and can I pay upfront while purchasing the ticket?? and how much excess kilos can I take with me. Pls can I have a response e mailed to me.

    • Hi Diana,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      This depends, as every airline has different rules with regards to weight restrictions as well as costs. Some charge per kg and others charge per additional piece of luggage. The airline you will be traveling with, able to advise you accordingly.

      Purchasing excess baggage needs to be done directly with the airline. Once you have your ticket, it is advised to purchase excess baggage before, as it is usually more cost effective, then doing so at check-in.

      Best of luck

  62. Mango is very expensive don’t exceed your baggage allowance…..I had a very bad experience with them in OR Tambo. …and I vowed never to fly mango again

    • Hi Ntombifikile,

      Yes, Mango is one of the airlines that charge per kg for excess baggage and not per additional bag. This does make it quite a bit more expensive if one has an extra 20kgs.

  63. I’m a frequent flyer and these rules and regulations are absolute rubbish and merely a way for the airlines to make money. I flew recently with Kulula and I had two small bags weighing about 7th each, because I needed one at my destination. Kulula would not let me check in both bags unless I paid for one, bit it was OK to take one in the hold and one in the cabin.

    The system of taking away bags that are over sized at the boarding gates works well, so why not just stay with this process instead of trying to annoy all passengers for the sake of some idiots who cannot comply.

  64. How and where do you apply for exemption? I travel with pro camera equipment and there is no way in hell that I am checking this in.

    • Hi Neil,

      Great to hear from you!

      If a passenger is wanting to apply for exemption, they would need to contact the airline they traveling with directly.

      Management or an airline Senior Agent will put an authorization into the booking, once approved.

  65. There are also the ‘hidden costs’ of the blue clingwrapping sealing the luggage of R60.00 per bag and also now only one bag weighing 20kgs..

  66. Going to be interesting for moms with babies who need baby bags…

    • Hi Liesl,

      Children over the age of 2 are allowed a carry on bag, however this does not apply to infants unfortunately. Most airlines allow mothers to take a stroller or car seat as additional allowance, which is not included as part of the carry on luggage.

  67. BA allow 23kg, yes 23kg, cabin hand luggage (subject to strict dimesions of the the bag/case) per economy class passenger, in addition to the 23kg checked in baggage.
    Suggest Travelstart staff get up to speed on the various airlines baggage allowances.

    • Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      This campaign is focused on domestic travel within South Africa. BA cabin hand luggage is 7kgs with the dimensions of 56cm x 36cm x 23cm
      (22in x 14in x 9in)

      This rule has been around but ACSA and the airlines are just clamping down and enforcing it now, particularly on domestic flights

      Please find link below


      Have a lovely day.

  68. Hi all

    I’m a professional dancer and sometimes I travel around the country to perform in different cities with my team. One of my team members had his clothes and costumes stolen from O.R. TAMBO- King Shaka airport (in 2011). When we arrived at King Shaka, his lock was broken and the clothes/costumes were gone. We had a performance on that day and we reported the matter at Fly SAA they said they couldn’t help us (something about terms and conditions say when you check your bag, FlySAA will not be held liable for any loss) of which I understand when it comes to laptops and major things. So with that being said does it mean we should just carry our clothes with us as part of hand luggage to avoid such situations? Now that suitcases aren’t allowed what happens to our belongings if they go missing?

    Please don’t get me wrong I agree with the new policy, it is silly to bring your entire suitcase as hand luggage but what happens if things go missing after checking in our luggage?

    • Hi Dawn,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      That is a very unfortunate experience and I can understand the frustration caused.

      The airline does make allowance for passengers traveling with their dance, music or camera equipment. One will just have to contact the airline direct and arrange this with them before them time.

  69. All good and well except my carry on is 10kg’s because ACSA cannot seem to prevent their employees from ransacking my checked bag- trust me I don’t like carrying the extra weight but what choice do you have when you kit keep getting stolen?

  70. I do agree with the regulation changes as I have seen on local flights and International flights that certain people do not know the meaning of hand luggage. I have seen luggage as big as my main luggage going on the plain. The luggage hold above your head in this case does not close properly and I have seen these pop open during flight. Its no point in any of us complaining as this is for our own comfort and safety. People are in a hurry to get off a plain and this is why they take this big piece of luggage on the plain. Put it into the cargo hold and rather wait for your luggage at the luggage collection , a few more minutes of your time will make everybody safe and happy in the plain.

    • Hi Guy,

      Thanks for your feedback and comment. This is correct, ACSA is enforcing this regulation now for their passengers own comfort and safety. I have also witnessed some bags which should not be up in the over head compartments, in the event of turbulence and they pop open, this could cause some serious injuries to passengers on-board.

  71. Hi. I am surprised that people are surprised at this! I have been working in the airline for 12years. This HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE RULE! Nothing has changed with regards to your weight/piece allowance people. The only difference is now, the Airports Company of South Africa are stepping in to assist and stop you at the xray check point should your bags be over because at check-in people slyly show only a handbag or something small, yet when its time to go to the boarding gates, they “suddenly” have way more than allowed.
    The checkin agent suppose to put a tag on the hand luggage which indicates its been weighed and checked so any bag without a tag should not be allowed through the boarding gate. When people pitch at the boarding gate without a tag on the bag, you hear numerous excuses like it “fell off” causing airline delays etc……so now passenger will get stopped at security and resolve this long before you get to the boarding gate. Whether you travel on a bus or plane….each has its limits! No one is saying you cant take it, all they say is CHECK IT IN if it is over 7kgs…..simple! Its reasonable to say 7kgs is enough to put your valuables in your hand bag. When it comes to the photographers etc….this is where the “special clearance” comes in. Its not complicated people. Also if you do have way more valuable heavy stuff than you can get permission for, theres other modes of sending your stuff (cargo/courier) etc where is can be insured! Every company in the world got rules and regulations for VALID reasons like safety and security to name a few. You will always get someone trying to work around it and thus why there is never consistency. Yourll now know the rules so work on plan B if you cant stick to it……SIMPLE!

    • Hi Sam,

      Great to hear from you and thank you for this feedback.

      You have touched on a lot of interesting facts and its good to see where the airline is coming from and that this Rule has always been around its just that ACSA is now stepping in to assist the airlines with this. Another value point is that the airline is also doing this for the safety of their passengers but try to assist them where possible by making allowance, if one is traveling with expensive photo or music equipment.

      Again thanks for the comment!

  72. Hi there. I fully agree with the constrictions on hand luggage. I fly often between SA and Moz and the huge bags that some passengers try to bring on with them is downright ridiculous and very unfair on other passengers.

    However, I do have another concern. On my last flight, several items of mine were confiscated from my hand luggage going through the security check at Oliver Tambo airport. These included shampoo, conditioner, body cream and an animal ear cleaner solution for my dog. None of these bottles had been opened and were all brand new. What on earth did they think I was going to do with them? Hold up the pilots by giving them a wash and rinse, followed by a massage and not to forget a quick ear clean just to make sure they can hear everything on the radio???? I am pretty sure that these goods are being confiscated more to fill the pockets of these so called security officers than for any hint at dangerous items carried on board! If we are genuinely not allowed to carry these items, then please can you provide me with a link as to what we are not allowed to carry in our hand luggage as this is becoming a very costly affair. As I usually have to stay over somewhere on my trips, I prefer to just carry the essentials and a change of clothes in my hand luggage so that I do not have to open up my other case until I get to my final destination. The vet product was extremely annoying as I had only been able to get it last minute at great expense, and had just tossed it into my hand luggage as my other bag was already packed.

    • Hi Gill,

      Great to hear from you and thank you for the laugh! It really did put a smile on my face.

      On a serious note, I understand where you coming from so I’ve gone onto the website to find a link providing further information as to why they have impletented this rule and how much liquid can be taken on-board.


      “Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) enforced rules that restrict the amount of Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (LAGs) that passengers may take on board in their hand luggage on international flights, to protect against the threat of liquid explosives. Such rules took effect in the European Union and the United States of America, and South Africa which started enforcing these international aviation safety regulations on 01 June 2007.”

      Have a lovely day

  73. Well if they’re checking the bag size as well as they’re checking what’s in the bag, we don’t have to be concerned about this. Went through handluggage security scan with TWO 750ml bottle of water in the bag. That’s not a trivial amount of restricted item. I only realised this once I was on the other side! #ohthatsjustforhydratingwhileflyingdontworry #asleepatthewheel

  74. As a frequent traveller I think it’s about time that these restriction were put in place. There is nothing more annoying than those passengers who take liberties with CARRY ON luggage, especially the ones where they take up half the storage space meant for the whole section, or the luggage is so big they end up trying to put it underneath the seats and end up restricting others peoples foot/leg space.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yes that is correct, that is one of the reasons why the airlines are implementing this.

      Have a great day 🙂

  75. I wish to find out whether these new regulations also apply to people transiting through SA to neighbouring countries or only limited to internal flights?

    Hoping to get a response soonest. Thanx in advance.

    • Hi Connie,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      This latest campaign is targeting domestic travel by ACSA. However in saying this, when I was traveling abroad in December I found the same rules applied with some of the airlines. Where if ones carry on luggage did not comply with the baggage restrictions they sent it back and the passenger had to check it in as checked baggage allowance.

      Have a wonderful day 🙂

  76. He he – Now what? I have a special 20″ laptop and bag that together weigh just under 20kg. Due to the Mil spec and the high end requirements of this machine it is more of a “luggable” than portable, and there is no way in hell I am giving an R80,000.00+ machine to them for the hold. I can go naked in a foreign country rather than be without this machine to be able to do my job. Had SAA try give me the same issue in Nigeria once about the weight.

    I am prepared to check it anywhere, except if it goes via OR Tambo ( JHB). Every stolen/”lost” article has been from there, theft is rife (but different topic).

    Due to the weight I have had helicopter pilots not want to carry, whilst they accept 120kg passengers (instead of a 60kg bloke and his 20kg bag???)

    Airlines need to think a bit more logically about weight, and specify that combined weight of any passenger musn’t exceed 125kg and treat them and their baggage together. That would be fair. If someone need excess baggage, then it must be granted from another passenger’s allowance, or they need to pay for an extra seat (BTW an extra empty seat on even a long distance flight is usually below R2000 airline charge – The taxes & airport charges would be excluded – Look at the values and detail on your airline ticket, the airlines only get about 15-25% of the fare, if they are lucky).

    Two problems get solved: One, being the excess baggage calculation; Two, being the very poor average calculations of weight that a commercial pilot has to make when adjusting speed requirements (most important reason for weight limits).

    Maybe I need to figure out how to wear a 20kg laptop as a “fanny pack”?

  77. Your constant reference to Kulula’s one 7kg policy is misleading – just downloaded from their website: “adults
    One free checked bag weighing up to 20kg
    One piece of hand baggage weighing up to 7kg plus one small handbag or a slimline laptop sized bag
    Extra bags can be purchased online at a discounted rate of 30% up to 24 hours prior to flight departure”
    Let’s get it right!

  78. i am so delighted with this new rule and just hope it will be enforced on ALL travellers. It frustrates me so much when people force a too big hand luggage suitcase in the overhead storing compartment moving everybody else’s luggage. I had so much joy at Frankfurt airport some time ago when a strict german hostess made every travellar fit their hand luggage in the prescribed measuring box while we were waiting to board. Needless to say , half of the travellers were send to book luggage in as it was too big!!!

    • Hi Magriet,

      Thanks for the the post. I have to say reading it did make me laugh. “strict german hostess”

      Have a great day 😀

  79. Is it ok if your hand luggage is a different length / breadth / depth (e.g. 42 x 38 x 29) as long as it still fits within the total overall dimension of 115cm?

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      The airlines give these dimensions for certain reasons, maybe for the baggage compartment. In saying this, if the bag is soft and can be folded, maybe they would over look this.

      It’s up to the airlines discretion, and would be best to contact them direct and they will be able to advise accordingly if this would be accept as carry-on luggage.

  80. is this only for domestic flights within South Africa?

    • Hi Dee Dee,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      This latest campaign is targeting domestic travel by ACSA. It’s also recommend for International flights, that passengers abide by the airlines carry on luggage weight restrictions, to avoid disappointment and to be considerate to ones fellow passengers.

  81. Question: when I travel I use my camera bag as my ‘handbag’ – in other words, all ID books, purses, cell-phones, lipstick etc goes in there instead of carrying a handbag. I have a carry-on backpack for my laptop which is well within these dimensions. Will that still work?

    • Hi Mandi,

      Great to hear from you!

      From what you saying, this should be fine. As long as one is within the correct dimensions and weight restrictions. What they trying to clamp down on is, someone people might have their carry-on luggage perfect, then as a “handbag” which is just as big as the carry on luggage.

      One can also contact the airline you will be traveling with, just to make double sure

      Have a great day!

  82. CORRECTION ON TOP COMMENT: my camera bag on wheels weighs 12kgs but is within the right measurements, when I travel I take along camera equipment worth at least 100 000.00, surely they don’t expect me to hand that in, are they going to make sure it is safe from thieves within the airports ( airport staff) they always tell you not to put valuables through. I have always taken my camera bag which is on wheels due to my arthritis and handed it in before going into the plane, which is a much safer option as you collect it as you disembark.
    I once asked about my camera being in the sport equipment maybe range, answer was I don’t know and I still had to pay big bucks to take it in the plane.

    • Hi Angie,

      Thanks for the reply.

      Every airline is different so we are not able to advise if they will make an exception for this or not. The best we can recommend is that you contact the airline directly which you will be travelling with and they should be able to advise accordingly.
      Yes that’s correct, in the past they used to be so much more lenient but now they really clamping down since the release of this campaign from ACSA.

      I wouldn’t feel positive putting such valuables as checked baggage, best to speak to speak to the airline as its up to their discretion if they will make an exception.

      Best of Luck!

  83. when I travel I take along camera equipment worth at least 100 000.00, surely they don’t expect me to hand that in, are they going to make sure it is safe from thieves within the airports ( airport staff) they always tell you not to put valuables through. I have always taken my camera bag which is on wheels due to my arthritis and handed it in before going into the plane, which is a much safer option as you collect it as you disembark.

  84. Ok…one of my hobbies is wildlife photography. To date I have had no problem with any carrier being internal or external provided the following is done. Bag fits dimentions, musy be able to store un assisted, and that you mention that bag contains camera equipment…two bodies, 3 lenses, and a telephoto lens and other misc stuff. Estimated value of goods R250 k and very fragile. There is no way this can go into a hull… And seeing I am going to the Mara can you emaging what it would be like if my gear cannot go with and my paid trip and purpose is to take photo. I can understand safety/security but I dont understand why airlines (carriers) and airports which are suppose to be profitable businesses are telling me I should find a new hobby…or stop travelling. Going to Ireland next week and then onto Russia do you think I have a problem KLM & Aeroflot?

    • Hi Fanie,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      I wouldn’t feel comfortable either putting expensive Camera Equipment in the hull, and then hoping its ok or even there when you arrive at your destination.

      Every airline is different, having their own baggage restrictions. Its best to contact them direct, let them know what you are wanting to take on board, and see if this would be acceptable from their side or not. At the end of the day, it will be up to the airlines discretion and they should be able to advise accordingly.

      Enjoy, sounds like a fantastic holiday and you welcome to post a picture or two on our timeline 🙂

    • Sorry, but I do not agree with your excuse. You still are trying to justify to “steal” legitimate cabin space from you fellow travelers. If you can afford this kind of camera equipment, then certainly if you do not trust the airport, then you can have it send by courier to your destination. But demanding extra cabin space because your expensive camera equipment is plain selfish.

  85. My advice – invest in a portable luggage scale and weigh your luggage before checking in.

  86. I am a frequent traveler who has been at more than one time very annoyed with people who seem to carry more hand luggage with them on the plain than actual luggage into the hold. It is because of the abuse by those people airports have to be stricter with rules regarding cabin luggage. Cabin space is only limited and if people because of egoistic reasons take more space for themselves, then everybody suffers as a result of it.

  87. The hand luggage sizing bins had begun gathering dust recently. They were not used on my last few flights, in SA and abroad. So I guess they’re going to start using them again now.

    • Hi there,

      That’s correct, I haven’t seen much of the airport staff following through with this policy either. Will be interesting to see what happens going forward 2 February. I just came back from the States, and they seemed pretty strict with this. Couple times the airline staff at the gate sent the bags back, and advise the passengers it needs to go through as checked baggage now due to the weight limit

  88. Good to hear that excess carry-on luggage is being looked at. Many people really overdo it. Two questions:
    1. What is the situation with the large (amounts and size) of “duty free” stuff that gets taken on board.
    2. Does a camera bag qualify in place of a laptop or man bag? There is no way I am checking my camera and lenses into the hold – it will either get stolen or broken.

    Thanks for keeping us updated.

    • Hi Pete,

      Great to hear from you.

      What we posted was a campaign from ACSA for all domestic flights. I’m not sure with regards to duty free and international flights. To my knowledge I would think this should be fine, if one has purchased in moderate quantities. If not, they might tell you at the boarding gate to check one of your bags in.

      With regards to the camera, taking that on board instead of a laptop should be fine. However we do recommend you contact the airline you are travelling with just to make sure, as every airline has different rules and regulations and they should be able to advise accordingly.

  89. My carry on bag is 46x44x23. This is not the same as the specified dimensions but it is less than the total of 115. Will i still be allowed to take my bag on? (Sorry if this question has been answered already.)

    • Hi Eliezer,

      Great to hear from you!

      If its a soft bag and can fit into the bag bin, if they ask one to drop it in, I cant see this being a problem.

      My suggestion would be to contact the airline you travelling with and see if they will accept this, as its up to the airlines discretion if they accept this or not.

      Have a great day!

  90. At last!!!! it is most frustrating when there is no room for your hand luggage above your seat due to someones elses selfishness. .

  91. What precisely is all the fuss about? This is standard international travel practice. Why would you even want to battle your way through the plane with anything bigger than these recommended sizes? In fact being able to take a hand bag is pretty good – because there are times overseas where you may only have one piece of hand-luggage so you have to stuff your hand-bag into your hand-luggage (and they don’t warn you about that beforehand). Stop stressing people – there is nothing abnormal about this!

    • Well said Jolene Wood. Virgin Atlantic between London & SA allows only 1 piece of hand luggage so you have to ensure your handbag is inside your carry on. I travel extensively from SA to West Africa and the UK. I use my carry on (cabin) luggage for my valuables like computers and chargers and my handbag that can fit on the wheelie carry on. Easy travelling and once you get your head around it, you can pack pretty much everything in the right place without stressing. Are most of the people writing these comments first time travellers? Just asking because nothing has changed. Only difference is it will now be enforced and about time too!

  92. South African travelers have been spoiled for too long…I regularly fly with low cost airlines overseas and they take no nonsense – comply or don’t fly! try flying Ryan Air and trying to fly with the kitchen sink in carry-on luggage – you’ll end up washing dishes in the security canteen when they drag you away for abusing the ground staff when trying to argue your unreasonable case!

    I recently flew SAFair and dutifully packed a bag and weighed it and checked it as such at the desk and was within limits (weight and size!) with laptop taken out. However when i got to the flight, there were the usual suspects with huge suitcases hogging the overhead stowage. I sincerely hope this will be applied rigorously – a few people missing there flights will get publicity and therefore the attention of the chancers and hopefully the regulation of the hand luggage will become uniform to the benefit of ALL travelers.

    One question, I use a backpack laptop bag (bought as such from a computer store) and wish to know if that would be accepted as a slim laptop bag?

    • Hi Mark,

      Great to hear from you and thanks for that awesome reply! It really did make us laugh! In saying that, you are so right, they don’t take any nonsense that side of the world. (comply or don’t fly)

      With regards to your question, flying with your laptop backpack shouldn’t be a problem. If its over the shoulder or a backpack laptop bag, either or should be fine.

      Happy travels where every you off to next.

  93. How is this going to work with BA Hand Baggage allowances? BA allows one item of “Cabin Baggage” (56cm x 45cm x 25cm maximum 23kg) and one “Personal Bag” (45cm x 36cm x 20cm, also a maximum of 23kg). I flew BA to UK and USA in September/October and these baggage allowances are real (surprisingly)!

    As a matter of interest checked baggage is also 23kg, so if you are carrying goods that are heavy but small you could theoretically have a total of 69kg! I queried it before I flew and BA confirmed.

    Look at http://www.britishairways.com/en-za/information/baggage-essentials/hand-baggage-allowances .

  94. Why do we have to choose between our handbag and laptop bag? Would we then have to check one of them in? If that is the case then we can just as well stop flying and refer back to driving.

    • See my comment…I get the same feeling. They don’t want me to travel by air or visit this wonderful planet.

    • Fanie, I don’t think they thought this through thoroughly….I normally travel with one small carry on luggage, my laptop bag and handbag. If I can’t do that going forward then I don’t see the point in flying!

  95. Please have a look at your replies above, you have now contradicted the statements about the inclusion of handbags/man bags 3 times – please confirm what is actually the case…. this is very frustrating as we are looking to you for guidance!

    • Hi Denise!

      As you can tell it’s quiet confusing, even for us in the travel industry. Basically ACSA’s rule is that you’re allowed 1 checked in bag and a slim-line laptop bag, at first the communication indicated that a handbag would be counted as the 1 check-in bag. Then ACSA mentioned in their rules that a handbag is counted as “attire” which means it’s not luggage. So this has caused plenty of confusion.

      Our understanding of it is that a handbag is attire if it’s a “sensible” size: basically the kind you’d willingly take to the shops/restaurant or for a night out, rather than a gym-bag sized over-the-shoulder sort of thing which is pretty much the same size as the regulation carry-on luggage. It should be easily stowable on your lap or under the seat in front of you without impeding movement or legroom.

      Sadly only the security staff at the airport have the final say in this. But my advice to you is: try to keep that hand luggage to a minimum wherever possible. Check in whatever you can and ask the check-in staff if the bags you’re taking as hand luggage will be accepted. That way you won’t be sent back later to check luggage in when you reach security.

      At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world if you have too much hand luggage, so long as you realise long enough in advance, you can simply check it in though the airline may charge you a fee.

  96. They should charge excess for fat people too, it’s unfair that me who weighs 55kg gets the same amount of kg’s As someone who weighs 150KG, or

  97. Hi Marcelle,

    I am now confused…. you say the policy is one cabin bag and one slim laptop bag – OK that’s understandable – but then in the text above you say “In each of the cases above, a woman’s hand bag and a man’s satchel / “man-bag” is considered part of dress code and is exempt from these regulations.”

    Then you say above that a handbag is classed as being part of the 2 bag restriction??? Which one is correct as these statements are contradictory….
    Thank you

    • Hi Denise, I trust you saw my response on your other post? Hopefully that will clear it up (at least a little!)

  98. When are airlines going to start weighing you and your suitcase as a single entity. Why should someone who weighs 50kg be limited to a 7kg hand luggage, while others who weigh 90 are also limited to a 7kg hand luggage

  99. What is the story with musical instruments? Touring musicians are already paranoid about handing over these delicate items to airlines. Some are just to sensitive to ptessure and humidity changes to go in the unpressurized hold at 40,000 feet

    • Hi Alan,

      Great to hear from you.

      Yes I totally understand. Sometimes airlines do make exceptions however this will be up to their discretion.

      For domestic flights, one can have their carry-on bag, laptop bag and handbag. They might possibly allow passengers to take their carry-on bag along with a musical instrument (depending on size, instead of the laptop) and handbag.

      To avoid disappointment, its always best to contact the airline you are planning on traveling with along with the person’s name you spoke to, and see what they advise.

      Have a great day!

  100. About time, I travel lots and you would be amazed what people bring on a plane, but the crew are mostly to blame for allowing it, the rules a have always been there but weren’t enforced, SAA crew especially they just ignore it

    • Hi Mike,

      Yes very true, it is quite an eye opener seeing all the bags one person was aloud to bring onto a flight as carry-on. For domestic flights they are clamping down now. Which is a good thing, especially for safety reasons.

  101. Photographers will have a major problem now. There is no insurance on any camera equipment in checked baggage. Not that one would ever dream to check in a R100 000.00 lens and a R50 000.00 camera. But what to do if one has 2 camera-bodies and a variety of lenses…weighing maybe 8 or more kg’s . Is there anyway one can make special arrangements to have your precious and very expensive and very fragile camera equipment as hand luggage with a special permit/license. Or would the airline take Financial Responsibility? This is very , very bad news indeed. The way the baggage is handled ( or rather THROWN) , no one in their right mind would check in anything fragile.

    • Hi Lindie! I would ask the airline that you can take this in as hand luggage. This may apply under the exemptions mentioned above, but a member of airline staff will have to accompany you then. At the end of the day, the airlines are trying to be fair to everyone INSIDE the cabin where everyone gets a fair and equal amount of space for their luggage. If camera equipment takes up twice as much space as everyone is allowed, this is seen as unfair to the other travellers, which is why at check-in one needs to ask for special exemption and arrangements. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we can’t offer any assurances with regards to this, it’s down to ACSA and the airline.

      Best of luck with your travels, I’m hoping you get through smoothly.

  102. about time. has been a bit of a joke up to now with people bringing on massive carry-on luggage to other peoples discomfort. hope it is carried through. thieves in luggage section probably already for the new influx unfortunately

  103. Dear Marcelle
    It would help if you did some homework before replying to readers’ questions. These regulations are not in force worldwide. They vary from airline to airline. For example, British Airways allows a carry-on bag of up to 23 kgs, provided it does not exceed a certain size. American Airlines and Delta have no weight restrictions, only size. SAA and Lufthansa allow 8kgs – not 7kgs. Emirates allows one bag only – not a bag + hand bag or slimline computer bag. Qantas has amazingly complicated regulations related to the route and type of aircraft you fly. Certain airlines include your duty free purchases in your carry on allowance, while others don’t. Given these extensive variations, I fail completely to see what any of this has to do with on-board safety.
    Chris Gibbons

    • Hi Chris.

      Thanks for the response and feedback, however critical it was. I really wanted to first off respond to your point about more research being done and wanted to assure you that a fair amount of research has been put into these responses. That being said, as you pointed out, regulations do vary greatly between different airlines, airlines also regularly change rules not just as blanket rules but also as rules for individual routes and classes. It’s often hard even for travel agents to get it right every time, despite years and even decades in the industry, after all, we are only human. Please accept our apologies if any mistakes were made which impacted negatively on your flight arrangements.

      The rules put in place here are by the airlines which are being enforced with the help of ACSA and in essence, this is what we’re focussing on in this post: the tightening of their domestic regulations. The most common rule, which Marcelle has been referring to here, is that checked luggage is 20-23kg in economy with hand luggage at 7kg overhead “hand” luggage. Rules vary as you pointed out and can be flexible, depending on the airline and the individual cabin attendant/check-in/boarding agent.

      That being said, we appreciate your input, the info is very detailed and handy for any readers out there. We’ll keep an eye out for any comments requiring more detailed responses in terms of international flights.

      For anyone else reading this comment, if you have queries about international baggage allowances, please also provide the exact flight details so that we can do a more accurate check for your requirements.

      Thanks again for participating in the conversation, all constructive input is valuable to us!

      – Nick

  104. Does this apply to domestic flights only ….. ?

    • Hi Ross,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      This latest campaign is targeting domestic travel from ACSA side. However to avoid disappointment its always best and considerate to ones fellow passengers to abide by the same rules for International flights, what ever their restrictions might be. As some airlines have different luggage allowance, for checked and carry on.

      Have a great day 🙂

  105. Good day would like to know if traveling to the USA as a dance group. Can we travel with a back pack? Many thanks

    • Hi Shushaana,

      Wow that does sound exciting! Enjoy 🙂

      Yes this is possible and should not be a problem! As long as as your carry on luggage is within the weight and size restriction this will be fine.

      Have a fabulous time 🙂

  106. I wonder if it applies to duty free items….

    • Hi Paulo,

      This latest campaign is targeting domestic travel by ACSA. Nothing has been mentioned with regards to duty free items for when travelling abroad.

  107. Marcelle, you keep replying to everyone that they cannot have a handbag in addition to cabin bag and laptop bag but in the article this line exists… “In each of the cases above, a woman’s hand bag and a man’s satchel / “man-bag” is considered part of dress code and is exempt from these regulations.”

    • Hi Peter,

      Yes that is correct, as it was brought to our contact manager attention and has since been edited.

      For domestic flights, one is aloud 1 x 7kg carry on bag within specified dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with a handbag and a slim-line laptop bag. Being said some airlines like BA and Kulula, are a bit more stricter, only allowing 1 x 7kgs carry on and a handbag OR laptop bag.

      I hope the above helps and if you have any further questions feel free to ask!

      Have a great day!

  108. I think you have read this incorrectly. It states that a woman’s handbag and a man’s satchel or manbag is considered part of dress code and is therefore exempt. This is in the article. Just read it again. Just goes to show…. No one knows …. No one reads…..

  109. What about Photographers? We carry our Cameras in a BackPack and our Laptop in a Laptop carry case, does that mean we can NOT take on Hand Luggage?

    • Hi Rick,

      Great to hear from you!

      I can understand, not wanting to send ones expensive camera equipment as checked baggage allowance and rather keep it with them at all times.

      If you are not able to fit it in your hand luggage, or it exceeds the weight limit, sometimes the airlines do make an exceptions.

      This is on a case by case basis though. And the airline you travelling with would be able to advise and assist accordingly.

      But as it stands now its its 1 carry on luggage at 7kg dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with a handbag and a slim-line laptop bag.

  110. Hi Marcelle,

    You say this is implemented worldwide? and that is for safety reasons? Easyjet still and have always stipulated that there is NO weight restriction to cabin baggage as long as you can personally put it in the over head locker and it does not exceed these dimensions 56 x 45 x 25cm. This suggests that the implementation of a 7kg weight allowance is NOT for health and safety reasons. Why can’t airlines speak the truth and say that it is to create extra profit?

    • Hi Hannah,

      Thanks for your reply.

      My apologies, this is targeted for domestic flights within South Africa. They do also recommend that passengers travelling abroad to please abide by the airlines carry on weight restrictions, to avoid disappointment and to be considerate of ones fellow passengers.

      Reason for safety is, some passengers bring on excessive amounts of baggage on-board and try place it in the overhead compartments, which is only designed for a certain weight limit. However every airline is different and has their own rules and regulations.

      Have a great day 🙂

  111. Excellent, it is always a struggle to find space for hand luggage if you are last to board at your section. I hope this is enforced equally to all

    • Hi Karuska,

      Thanks for your comment!

      The campaign written was for domestic flights only, as from ACSA. However it is recommend that when traveling abroad one abides by the carry on weight restrictions of that specific airline you would be flying with, to avoid disappointment.
      I agree this is very good, as it can be quite frustrating when you board and people who are sitting 6 – 8 rows back are placing their hand luggage in the overhead compartments where you sitting.

      Have a great day 🙂

  112. All airports are ACSA controlled – so does this ruling affect only domestic flights? Or are international flights bound to the same regulation?

    • Hi Greg, ACSA have only focussed on domestic flights with this statement and haven’t mentioned international travel. That being said I know that often airlines are more lenient with international flights on those larger aircraft. From what we understand it was Mango, SAA, Kulula and British Airways (Comair) who put the pressure on ACSA to implement these rules with domestic flights in mind.

      Safest thing to do is be conservative with your luggage amounts wherever possible and ask the check in staff to honestly assess your intended hand luggage so that you don’t face problems at security.

  113. once again the majority are penalised by a minority called Islamic terrorists. If they really are a minority why have governments throughout the world not done something to ensure we travel safely. I’m getting really pissed at the inconvenience these radicals are putting me through.

  114. its about time people were weighed WITH THEIR LUGGAGE. I weigh 65 kgs. My luggage was 5 kgs overweight and I was charged for it. The guy in front of me weighed at least 95 kgs, but he wasn’t charged, as his luggage weighed ok. EXCUSE ME BUT HE WEIGHED 30 KGS MORE THAN ME. ARGUE AGAINST THIS. THUS IS BS.

  115. This is the best policy/rule ever. This will stop idiots trying to take another suitcase as hand luggage and trying to force it into the bin provided above. Hope they are VERY strict with executing this policy!

    • Hi Jacques,

      Great to hear from you and thanks for the comment!

      The new regulations restrict economy class carry-ons to a single piece with a maximum weight of 7kg and within specified dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with a handbag and a slim-line laptop bag.
      This latest campaign is targeting domestic travel by ACSA. We have however heard unconfirmed reports that some airlines like BA and Kulula are pretty strict and only allow 2 pieces of luggage (carry-on with either your handbag OR slim-line laptop bag)
      They also recommend this for International flights, that passengers abide by the airlines carry on luggage weight restrictions, to avoid disappointment and to be considerate to ones fellow passengers.

    • Hi there can I sue a South African airline for losing my checked in luggage?

    • Hi Priscilla,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      If you have insurance you should be able to claim from insurance.

      With regards to taking an airline to court for loosing your luggage, im afraid we don’t specialize in that area. You would need to contact a legal office for advise.

  116. I travel frequently and make use of the wrap service. @ R60 per trip it’s quick costly. I require a laptop for business and travel with it not out of choice. Over the shoulder strap bags over time cause back issues. Therefore wheel bags are used. So can the non slimline laptop bag be considered 1 piece of hand luggage?

    • Hi Vanessa,

      Great to hear from you.

      The new regulations restrict economy class carry-ons to a single piece with a maximum weight of 7kg and within specified dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with a handbag and a slim-line laptop bag.
      This latest campaign is targeting domestic travel by ACSA. We have however heard unconfirmed reports that some airlines like BA and Kulula are pretty strict and only allow 2 pieces (one being the carry-on with either your handbag OR slim-line laptop bag)
      They also recommend this for International flights, that passengers abide by the airlines carry on luggage weight restrictions, to avoid disappointment and to be considerate to ones fellow passengers.

      Travelling with a musical instrument, you should be able to travel with it instead of a laptop. However this is depending on the size and up to the airlines discretion. For this I would recommend you contact the airline directly as they would be able to advise accordingly.

  117. I carry my laptop and personal effects in a small backpack, could that be accommodated in the flat bag category. The problem is that checked in bags are not, also prefer to use Skycheck on boarding.

    • Hi Helen,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      The new regulations restrict economy class carry-ons to a single piece with a maximum weight of 7kg and within specified dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with either a handbag and a slim-line laptop bag.
      This latest campaign is targeting domestic travel by ACSA. We have however heard unconfirmed reports that some airlines like BA and Kulula are pretty strict and only allow 2 pieces of luggage (carry-on with either your handbag OR slim-line laptop bag)
      They also recommend this for International flights, that passengers abide by the airlines carry on luggage weight restrictions, to avoid disappointment and to be considerate to ones fellow passengers.

  118. Are these regulations the same for international flights

    • Hi Trevor,

      That is correct. This baggage restriction applies to all flights world wide. I think they already implemented it overseas. South African is just following suit.

  119. There is no mention of women’s handbags. Where do these fit in?

    • Hi Joan,

      Great to hear from you!

      The new regulations restrict economy class carry-ons to a single piece with a maximum weight of 7kg and within specified dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with either a handbag or a slim-line laptop bag. Same applies to gentleman. They have the choice between a slim-line laptop bag or a man bag.

      Have an awesome day!

    • I beg to differ. I traveled to Russia via London and our luggage was not only damaged but many pieces were lost. This happened on two occasions. This does not happen in Africa only. It’s dependen on airlines and not on continents. It can happen in any continent.

    • Hi Patrick,

      This is correct, it really does depend on the airline and who they have employed. One can say it’s luck of the draw, as some people can travel abroad on the same airline for years without encountering any unfortunate experience with their luggage, and others its happened more then once. It really is not a great way to start or end ones Travel.

  120. does this mean u will NOT be allowed to take a handbag, laptop bag and a cabin bag?

    • Hi Seshnee,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      “The new regulations restrict economy class carry-ons to a single piece with a maximum weight of 7kg and within specified dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with a slim-line laptop bag. A woman’s hand bag and a man’s satchel / “man-bag” is considered part of dress code and is exempt from these regulations.

      We have however heard unconfirmed reports that some airlines like BA and Kulula are pretty strict and only allow 2 pieces of luggage (carry-on with either your handbag OR slim-line laptop bag)

      Have a lovely day!

    • Hi Seshnee,

      Great to hear from you.

      One is aloud to take their 7kgs of hand luggage, a handbag and laptop bag. A woman’s hand bag and a man’s satchel / “man-bag” is considered part of dress code and is exempt from these regulations.
      We have however heard unconfirmed reports that other airlines like BA and Kulula are pretty strict and only allow 2 pieces of luggage. So one has to choose between ones laptop or handbag.

  121. Security of luggage is an issue in many Southern African countries, is it just because we live in Africa.?.
    You are just damned luck if you pass unscathed particularly if you are carrying anything of value.
    A friend lost a bag in Europe, reported it to the airline. Bag was delivered 200km to his door two days later with serious apologies from management. Sadly, Highly unlikely on this continent…

    • When we returned from Australia last year, our expensive digeridoo was missing, but thanks SAA, it was delivered to our door that very same day!

    • Hi Linda,

      Great to hear from you!

      Always good to hear, that if ones personal items go missing, they are still returned.

  122. Do me a favour, start weighing the passengers because some of us weigh half of what others weigh and then we have to pay for a kilo extra hand luggage. Totally ridiculous!

    • Hi Lee, I agree with you! I weigh 65km and had to pay penalties in the past for 2 or 3kg weight restrictions on my luggage but when I get on the plane there is ussually an “obese elephant” taking up 4 times more space and weight compared to me. Do they get penalties? Offcourse not…

    • Hi Waldo,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      The reason for the restrictions on carry on luggage is also for safety reasons. In the event of turbulence, luggage may shift around, and the over head compartments may open. Some passengers have brought luggage on, weighing over 10kgs. The airlines need to have their passengers safety a priority to cover themselves as well as passengers.

      We actually ran a poll sometime back with regards to this asking peoples view on this.


      Also Samoa airlines, they tried implementing it.


      Both of them quite a good read! We got some interesting responses 🙂

  123. This is just raising the quantity of luggage that can be pilfered. Obviously the luggage handlers have been complaining that not enough luggage is available for them to do some affirmative shopping.

  124. so a female is entitled to what a 7kg hand luggage a lap top bag and a handbag or not?

    • Hi Angela,

      Thanks for getting in touch. For domestic flights one is aloud 7kgs of hand luggage, a laptop bag and a handbag.
      Some airlines like BA and Kulula are pretty strict we have heard and only allow 2 pieces, which would be your 7kgs of carry on and a handbag or laptop bag.

      Have a lovely day!

  125. I am flying to Europe via Dubai end of May, is this the same restrictions with hand-baggage

    • Hi Elzbieta,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Yes the same rules apply flying to Europe via Dubai. The is implemented world wide.

      Have a great day!

  126. Great so this means there is more for the guys handling your luggage behind the scenes to pilfer more of our valuable goods, like they expertly opened my bag and stole my camera and 3 lenses and left the boxes inside the bag, empty. I say first get rid of the rotten baggage handlers, THEN implement this rule!!!!

    • Hi Thomas,

      Nicely put! 🙂

      Sad but true. I know what you mean, wanting to put everything of value in your hand luggage so you know you have it when you arrive at your destination. Just that some people also just take advantage and go over the top with shopping and the baggage allowance means nothing, and their concerns is not really like the rest of ours.

    • For what it’s worth.
      Why not just blacklist the offending passengers that exceed the limits?

    • Man you correct they stole my laptop and notebook I for real will hate that rules they bringing in cause once is enough.

  127. Most woman travel with a handbag. And, in this article I cannot find any mention of a handbag. What happens to our beloved handbags that we can’t leave behind?

    • Hi Heather,

      Great to hear from you!

      I am so with you on that one “our beloved handbags”

      The new regulations restrict economy class carry-ons to a single piece with a maximum weight of 7kg and within specified dimensions (36cm x 23cm x 56cm) along with either a handbag or a slim-line laptop bag. Same applies to gentleman. They have the choice between a slim-line laptop bag or a man bag.

      So we can keep our beloved handbags close to us 🙂

      Have a great day!

    • It very clearly states in the article that handbags are considered part of a dress code and are exempt from the rule I.e. You can have a small suitcase, a laptop bag and a handbag

    • See the article above where handbags are considered ‘part of dresscode’
      In each of the cases above, a woman’s hand bag and a man’s satchel / “man-bag” is considered part of dress code and is exempt from these regulations. Essentially what they are concerned with is people with large bags trying to pass these off as “hand bags” and then on top of that bringing on regulation sized hand luggage as well.

      Read more: http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/new-hand-luggage-restrictions-south-african-airports/#ixzz3QJzswnSw
      Follow us: @Travelstart on Twitter | Travelstart on Facebook

    • Well as long as men can also take on another bag and call it a handbag.

    • Hi Dan,

      Yes that is not a problem. A “manbag” is accepted by the airlines 🙂

    • Heather…must be a blond moment, the article clearly states “In each of the cases above, a woman’s hand bag and a man’s satchel / “man-bag” is considered part of dress code and is exempt from these regulations.

    • Heather please read the article again under “exceptions” a womens hand bag is excempt from the rerquirements

    • Try actually reading the article properly before commenting. It explicitly mentions handbags. Go look.

  128. About time. Some people take all of the soace with their HUGE bags.

    • I agree Sue. Some people do this to avoid checking in a suitcase. In any case, this new regulation is in line with international standards so I don’t get why people are complaining.

    • At last……….hopefully there will be space available now in the overhead storage compartment at you allocated seat!!!!!

    • Hi P J,

      Exactly what I said! As nothing more frustrating when you board you flight, and people who are sitting 6 – 8 rows back, their luggage is in the overhead compartment above your seat. Crazy. And another important factor is for safety 🙂

  129. Everey year during September /October the Irish dancers from Cape Town travel to Joburg for the National Irish dancung championship.This is were these dancers qualify and competer to be able to compete at the world championships.
    Now the female dancers all have compition dresse that cost anywhere from R 10 000.00 and more that are secured in soecualy made dress bags.In all the years we were allowed to take it as hand luggage.How are the airlines going to classify it now.There is not a hope in hell thet these dresse can go in the luggage department.

    • Hi Carolina,

      Great to hear from you.

      I see where you coming from. However sadly the airline has to clamp down now. They do offer the service of bag wrapping at an additional cost. Or to take out Travel Insurance.

      Another important reason for the luggage restriction is for safety. When the bags are to heavy and one tries to force it into the overhead compartment, with turbulence, sometimes bags shift and can seriously hurt other passengers.

      In saying this, yes it is a pity that one has to worry about their checked baggage, hoping it arrives at the other end.

    • If you read the article it says that you can apply for an exemption.

    • One can always take Greyhound or rent a van and drive to Joburg. Thank goodness ACSA will put a stop to all this madness.

    • Bag wrapping is a complete waste of time and money. It’s well known that it does nothing to deter thieves. All it does is tell you immediately whether your bag has been opened.

      The size resitrictions are silly because they’re less than what easily fits in overhead compartments, even when the aricraft is completely full.

    • Question….first time traveller on South. Africa airlines from Jhb to HK then on to Jakarta. Just making sure of luggage – cabin is 7 KGS n lady bag. Is 23 kg x 2 piece suit case for luggage allowed. Plz confirm thanks

    • Hi Monica,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I would need to have your Travelstart booking reference number so I can call up your booking and see what your checked baggage allowance is.

      You welcome to provide this and will gladly assist.

  130. If checked luggage was safe we would not have this issue. How ACSA are unable to safeguard your baggage in this day and age is beyond me.

    • I totally agree with you, when I travel I take along camera equipment worth at least 100 000.00, surely they don’t expect me to hand that in, are they going to make sure it is safe from thieves within the airports ( airport staff) they always tell you not to put valuables through. I have always taken my camera bag which is on wheels due to my arthritis and handed it in before going into the plane, which is a much safer option as you collect it as you disembark.

    • There is no joy left in airtravel especially for economy travellers. Seating space is minimal. Food is borderline. I am not one who brings too much handluggage but I find the whole bullying process you pay to be part of ludicrous. Behind it is raking-in-the-money in alternative ways after every other service has been cut down to the symbolic minimum. If we like generosity within the limits we can afford and if we respect ourselves and others, lets plan holidays to be no-fly times. These airlines and airport authorities do not inspire confidence and trust. The whole industry has become a rip-off machine harbouring human rights issues.

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