Pretoria: South African Airways ‘s (SAA) new baggage policy – which will restrict the number of pieces of baggage a passenger may check in – kicks in today.
The policy was introduced in response to varying customer requirements in each of the airlines markets.
“The new checked-baggage policy restricts the number of pieces of baggage a passenger may check in, rather than the total weight of the passenger’s checked-in baggage. The new policy describes the number of baggage pieces a passenger may check-in as well as the weight restrictions for each piece and according to route and class of travel,” said SAA on Tuesday.
Excess baggage such as additional items, or where the baggage exceeds the weight and or size allowance, will be charged at a flat rate, per rule broken, per piece of luggage. This is a change from the current policy where excess baggage is charged per kilogram.
An excess baggage charge will apply for each piece of baggage that exceeds the maximum dimensions which are 80cm x 60cm x 18cm = 158cm or 62 inches.
Additionally, an excess baggage charge will apply for each economy class bag weighing over 23kg but less than 32kg with the exception being on travel to or from South America where an economy class passenger is allowed to take two pieces of baggage that each weigh no more than 32kg.
South African Airways said it could not check-in any bag that weighs over 32kgs for both economy and business class passengers because of baggage handling restrictions at airports.
A piece of baggage weighing over 32kg will have to be repacked in order to weigh 32kg or less or will have to be checked in at the SAA Cargo counter where cargo rates will apply.
If a piece of baggage is overweight and oversized, two excess baggage charges will apply.
For those flying within South Africa, passengers will be allowed to take one piece of baggage at a maximum of 32kg while those in economy class will be able to take along one piece at a maximum of 23kg.
If flying worldwide, business class passengers will be able to take two pieces of luggage at a maximum of 32kg each while those in economy class will be able to take along two pieces at a maximum of 23kg each.
Between Africa and South America, business class passengers will be allowed to travel with two pieces at a maximum of 32kg with the same rule applying for economy class.
For travel between Africa and Europe/UK, two pieces of baggage at a maximum of 32kg each will be allowed for business class while for economy class one piece at a maximum of 23kg will be allowed.
Between Africa and Asia/Japan, two pieces at a maximum of 32kg each will be allowed for business class while for economy class two pieces at a maximum of 23kg each will be allowed.
Those travelling between Africa and Australia/New Zealand will be allowed one piece at a maximum of 23kg in economy class and two pieces at a maximum of 32kg each in business class.
For travel between African countries, except Libreville/Douala and Lagos, two pieces at a maximum of 23kg each will be permissible for economy class while two pieces will be permissible in business class at a maximum of 32kg each.
Between Africa and Libreville/ Douala, one piece at a maximum of 32kg will be allowed in business class and one piece at a maximum of 23kg will be allowed in economy class.
For passenger travelling between Africa and Lagos three pieces of luggage at a maximum of 32kg each will be allowed in business class while three pieces at a maximum of 23kg each.
The policy will apply on tickets for all flights operated by SAA.
For tickets involving joint international transport services (code share) provided by SAA and foreign airlines the free baggage and excess baggage charge policy have been adjusted and will be based on the policies of the predominant carrier for the trip.
The new policy, which contains simple explanations and identifies routes where variations are applicable, may be viewed online at www.flysaa.com. It also forms part of the terms and conditions of all SAA tickets, including flights purchased online.
The policy aligns with most of the larger Star Alliance member carriers ensuring a transparent and consistent set of rules across SAA and the Star Alliance network. SAA announced the new policy in early August.