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South African Airways Pet Travel

South African Airways doesn’t allow pets to travel in the cabin with their owners, so fluffy must be checked in as baggage, or as cargo, as part of the IATA Live Animals Regulations (trying to smuggle them into the plane with you is a big no-no). The only exception to this rule is guide dogs which are assisting blind passengers.

The section of the cargo hold that the pets are transported in has the same temperature and pressure that is experienced in the passenger cabin, so you can travel without worrying about the safety of your beloved pet being lifted into a cold vacuum.

After you have booked your ticket (assuming your'e travelling with your pet), phone the South African Airways call centre at 011-978-1111 or contact the SAA Cargo Department on 011 978 3366 to arrange the travel for your pet (and to find out how much it will cost).

For your pet to be accepted as checked in baggage on SAA it:

  • Must be a domesticated animal

  • Must be older than 8 weeks. Get all the legal age and vaccination requirements from the Government here. This was up to date in August 2016.

  • Must be in a pet crate that meets all the requirements.  It must be lockable, have enough space for the animal to turn around while standing, and have ventilation holes that are not big enough for its paws or nose to stick out.

  • For international flights:  The owner must ensure the destination country accepts entry of animals and must ensure their pet has all the necessary health documents required by the destination. It is very important to contact the Embassy/Consulate of the country you are flying to. If you're flying your pet into SA, then it must be tranported as "manifested cargo" and have have a microchip implanted so that you can ID it (phone the Directorate of animal Health at +27-12-319-6000 if you have queries about this). Click here to see info on the import of animals into South Africa.

hyena in Umfolozi Reserve


Your pet will not form part of your free baggage allowance when you fly with SAA. You will be charged excess baggage fees for travelling with your pet. These will be calculated according to the size of the cage, the weight of the cage and animal as well as the distance you are travelling. Additional handling fees as well as local government or customs clearance charges may apply.

SAA will allow medically certified service animals such as guide dogs to travel in the cabin with a blind or deaf passenger free of charge.

Bringing Pets into South Africa

All dogs, cats, reptiles and primates imported into South Africa need to be implanted with microchips for identification, otherwise they will be placed under quarantine when they arrive into South Africa. For more information on animal importation contact the Directorate of Animal Health on 012 319 6000.

Humans on SAA

For airfares for humans to travel, check out the South African Airways flight bookings page.

Other Airlines

SAA plane being boarded at Cape Town International Airport

Category : South African Airways

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