South African Airways Flights

South African Airways

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South African Airways About South African Airways

South African Airways was founded in February 1934, when the South African government took over Union Airways. Later renamed South African Airways, began operating the same year with domestic flights. In the 1940s, the growth of the company continued slowly, despite the cessation of its activity during the Second World War. In 1945, South African Airways launched its first long-haul flight to Europe, England. In the 1950s, jet planes made their appearance within the company with the acquisition of a Boeing 707.

At the end of the 1980s, following the international condemnation of apartheid, South African Airways experienced a difficult period. However, it recovered in the 1990s, resuming its growth by developing the number of destinations served. In 2006, she joined the Star Alliance.On April 14, 2020, the government announced its refusal to once again bail out the airline, which had been in deficit since 2011. Heavily in debt and placed in receivership, South African Airways also had to face the Covid-19 which upset the world of air.

On board, passengers are offered good service and typical South African hospitality. The fleet consists of Boeings and Airbusses. The frequent flyer program is called Voyager and there are many ways to earn miles. The rewards not only include free flights, but also a visit to a spa or the use of a rental car service.

South African Airways Hub Airports

Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB / FAOR)

Focus Cities
Cape Town International Airport (CPT / FACT)

South African Airways Classes of Service

Economy and Business Class are offered as travel options by South African Airways on both short and long-haul flights. On short-haul flights, economy class passengers sit on slimline seats with headrests and foldable side panels. For long journeys there is additional storage space and more legroom on the seat, the amenity kit consists of socks, sleeping mask, toothbrush and toothpaste. Game and painting packs and special entertainment channels are provided for the smallest customers. On short-haul Business Class flights, passengers can hang their jackets on practical hooks, and a USB port and a laptop charging station ensure that the electronic devices they bring with them do not run out of power. After taking a seat on board a long-haul flight operated by South African Airways, Business Class bookers receive a welcome drink and an amenity kit including care products. The culinary offerings include South African cheese and the best wines. The seating area can be converted into an office and in the evening or at night the backrest can be folded back so that a bed is created.

The state airline mainly serves African routes. Important destinations are Dakar, Nairobi, Kinshasa and Harare. The company is thus making an important contribution to the African transport system. In addition, selected international metropolises such as Hong Kong, Mumbai, Sao Paulo and New York are served. The airline was also an important carrier for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. European soccer fans benefited from regular connections between London, Frankfurt, Munich and South Africa.

The airline has a codeshare agreement with the following airlines.

Africa World Airlines EgyptAir Scandinavian Airlines
Air Canada Emirates Singapore Airlines
Air China Ethiopian Airlines Swiss International Air Lines
Airlink Etihad Airways TAAG Angola Airlines
Air Mauritius JetBlue TAP Air Portugal
Air New Zealand LAM Mozambique Airlines United Airlines
Air Seychelles Lufthansa Virgin Australia
All Nippon Airways Mango
Asiana Airlines RwandAir

Important Milestones

South African Airways received the 2008 World Travel Award as Africa’s leading airline.

South African Airways Check-in

South African Airways passengers can check-in at the counter, at the machine, online and mobile.

Online Check-in

With South African Airways online check-in , you won’t let your mood be spoiled while waiting at the check-in counter! You can save yourself the stress of travel by checking in online in advance. At airline website you can first identify yourself by entering your name and booking number. In the next step you can choose a seat and print out your boarding pass.

Advantages of online check-in

Online check-in with South African Airways offers you many advantages:

  • You no longer have to queue for check-in at the departure airport
  • You can secure your seat in good time
  • You can print out your boarding pass within a few seconds
  • Simultaneous check-in of several passengers possible

The mobile online check-in

The mobile Check-in South from African Airways is just as time-saving. To do this, visit the website with your mobile phone. Now enter your e-ticket number or your booking reference and download the boarding pass. When you arrive at the airport, all you have to do is show it to Security, which will then scan your passport. Mobile check-in is possible for domestic flights from

Cape Town
Port Elizabeth
East London

Important information before departure

Have you already created and printed out your board card online? Great, then you can simply go to the baggage handling counter with this one. There your luggage will be tagged and then brought onto the aircraft. If you cannot print your boarding pass, you have other check-in options. To do this, go to a check-in machine at the airport or a South African Airways check-in counter.

Check-in times

Please note that online check-in is only possible within certain deadlines. What these look like depends on the start of your trip and your travel destination. Check-in via the internet is possible. Anyone in possession of an e-ticket can check in at least 24 hours before departure.

4 hours before departure for flights to America
3 hours before international flights
2 hours before departure for domestic flights

Click the button below to check in online.


Airport Check-in

For domestic flights, check-in ends 30 minutes, for all other connections 50 minutes before departure. At some airports, for example, there are also machines for self-check-in. Regardless of their location, the devices close 90 minutes before they start.

South African Airways Baggage Allowance

Carry-on baggage

South African Airways’ hand baggage regulations are structured quite simply. You can take numerous items with you on board as long as they do not pose a threat to other passengers. Prohibited items include weapons, sharp objects or inadequately packaged or dangerous liquids. The total weight of hand luggage that can be carried on board South African Airways is 8 kg, whereby only one piece of luggage can be carried in Economy Class and twice that in Business Class. The dimensions of a piece of luggage must not exceed 56 x 36 x 23 cm. A laptop or other personal item can also be taken on board free of charge.

Checked baggage

When checking baggage at the South African Airways counter, it should be noted that the number of items and weights are heavily dependent on the class of transport and the destination. Economy Class passengers are allowed to take one piece of luggage weighing 23 kg on flights within South Africa and 32 kg in Business Class. On most international flights, a second piece of baggage with this weight can also be checked in. (For connections between Europe and Africa, however, the free baggage allowance in Economy Class does not usually increase.) For children who pay 50 percent of the adult tariff, the same conditions apply as for adult passengers; infants up to 24 months without their own seat are generally allowed a piece of 23 kg can be taken. The sum of the dimensions per case must not exceed 158 cm.

Other luggage

If you are considering checking in other luggage in the form of sports equipment with South African Airways, you can usually take it with you as an additional piece of luggage up to 23 kg free of charge. However, it should not exceed 200 cm in length. On the other hand, the transport of musical instruments, if it cannot be carried out as part of hand luggage, is subject to a charge, ie not even within the free baggage allowance. Excess baggage fees are charged for this, depending on the route and passenger class. Between Europe and South Africa (Economy Class) they are currently 100 euros.

Tripuck does not guarantee the correctness and timeliness of the information. Contact your agency or airline for actual luggage information.

South African Airways Seat Selection

South African airline passengers can reserve a seat of their choice via the menu item “Manage my booking”. However, this service does not apply to flights with booking codes Q, V and L. In addition, the seats in the front rows are generally reserved for members of the frequent flyer program Voyager Elite. South African airline also points out that the seat selected cannot be guaranteed and depends on the division of the aircraft and the timely check-in of travelers.

South African Airways Knee Distance

Because of the airlines who want to reduce the cost of flying more passengers, knee distance is very important especially on long haul flights. The front seats and emergency exit seats are the seats with the highest knee distance. It is generally sold for a fee.

Voyager Frequent Flyer Program

To reward its most frequent travelers, the company has set up the “Voyager” loyalty program. Participants in the Voyager frequent flyer program earn miles every time they fly South African Airlines, which can be exchanged for great rewards within three calendar years. Miles are also credited when purchasing products and services from participating partner companies. The status of the program are Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Among other things, they promise more bonus miles and baggage allowance as well as access to airport lounges.

South African Airways Food & Beverage

Economy Class

In Economy Class, South African Airways serves everything from light snacks to multi-course meals, depending on the flight duration. They deliberately use regional, South African ingredients. All meals and drinks are included in the ticket price.

Business Class

South African Airways provides its passengers on long-haul flights with menus created by the well-known South African star chefs Benny Masekwameng and Reuben Riffel. There is a choice of different starters, main courses and desserts, which are always presented in an appealing way. In addition to meat dishes, numerous vegetarian menus are also offered. In addition, the airline has numerous award-winning wines from South Africa.

Special meals at SAA

South African Airways passengers who have special nutritional needs – for example because they suffer from a food allergy, do not tolerate gluten or follow a vegan diet – are also provided with tasty, varied meals in the best possible way. However, special meals must be ordered no later than 48 hours before departure. If you want a kosher dish, you have to order it at least 72 hours before departure.

South African Airways Inflight Entertainment

Both in Economy Class and Business Class, passengers get their money’s worth with culinary delights. In Business Class there are even menus from well-known South African chefs. Whether there are menus or a snack in Economy Class depends on the length of the journey. Magazines, interactive games, music and films as well as series pass the time during the flight. In many aircraft, the seat spacing is between 79 and 81 cm.


South African Airways currently does not offer internet on board their aircraft. So far, the airline has not announced any plans to set up WiFi on board its fleet.

South African Airways Pet Policy

Who wants to leave your best friend at home? On this page you will find the rules of traveling with your pet during your flight with South African Airways.

Please be sure to check with the airline before you travel, as the rules for transporting pets vary according to the airline.

South African Airways Lounge

The lounges are indispensable especially for business class passengers. What facilities does it offer? Here you will find detailed information about South African Airways lounges for a comfortable start to your trip.

South African Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign

Country:South Africa
Owner: State Owned
Alliance:Star Alliance
Frequent Flyer Program: Voyager
Company slogan: Bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world

Number of Aircraft: 16
Destinations:  19
Average Age of Aircraft: 15.7
Type of Aircraft: Airbus, Boeing
Detail of Fleet: Airbus A319-100, Airbus A320-200, Airbus A330-200, Airbus A330-300, Airbus A340-300, Airbus A340-600, Boeing 737-300

Head Office: Private Bag X13, Johannesburg International Airport, Johannesburg, Gauteng, 1627, South Africa
Phone Number: +27 11 978 1111
Fax Number: +27 11 978 5103
E-mail: [email protected]

Why should I choose?

Airline Website and Social Networks

Airline Mobile Apps

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