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Bicycles may be transported with South African Airways at a charge of R285 per sector (accurate when this article was written on the 1st of March 2018, may have changed since). Bikes must be properly packed.
South African Airways charges R350 handling fees each way (for domestic SA flights) to get your bike to the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour (a.k.a. the Cape Argus). These fares and rules are only applicable on bicycles transported to Cape Town between the 6th and the 11th of March and bicycle transportation back from Cape Town between the 11th and the 18th of March 2018. Unlike the other airlines, SAA used to allow a 3rd party to collect your bicycle, as long as they have all the documents SAA requires. With the new rules, that would no longer be possible as your bicycle would be on the same flight as you. Here's the steps to follow to transport your bike to the Cape Town Cycle Tour:
Book your SAA flight, specifying that you want to take your bicycle with you. As SAA are trying to ensure that all bicycles travel with their owners, there is a limit to the number of bicycles they will accept on each flight. Please check that your bicycle is confirmed.
If you did not specify the bicycle at the time of booking, then phone South African Airways's Reservations Department at 0861 606 606 to let them know and see if you can get it confirmed. The alternative would be to place our bicycle on standby. This means you might have to leave it behind.
Go pay your non-refundable handling fees at a Pick and Pay store or at the airport and store the voucher they give you somewhere safe, as you'll need to have it when dropping off your bike. For international flights to Cape Town, the handling fee is paid at departure.
Always make sure you have your ID, flight reference number and voucher handy for drop-off and pick-up of the bicycle.
Packaging your bicycle: Be sure to pack your bicycle accordingly, preferably in a box or bag obtained from a bicycle shop. Be sure to mark this accordingly with your details, contact details, flight number and flight reference. Remove all electronic devices from the bicycle and carry it in your hand luggage.
This year SAA is taking a new approach by ensuring that your bike travels with you wherever possible:
Cyclists flying from OR Tambo International Airport must hand in their bikes at counter B42 43or Bat least 90 minutes before departure but no later than 45 minutes before departure. Take proof of payment of handling fees, your ID & your flight ticket along with you. Get a limited release tag and store it safely (you'll need it to retrieve your bike). You will then collect your bicycle at the regular baggage arrivals area along with your other baggage. SAA will not store bicycles.
On your return from Cape Town you should check-in your bicycle at the check-in counter at least 90-45 minutes. Once again you have to collect it immediately upon arrival at the regular baggage collection area along with your other baggage. SAA will not store bicycles.
Cyclists flying from other airports must adhere to normal handling check-in and pick-up procedures although it is recommended that they check-in at least 90-45 minutes prior to departure.
These rules are only valid for bicycle transportation between 06 – 11 March 2018 to Cape Town and 11 – 18 March 2018 from Cape Town.
It's important to take out private insurance, to protect against the event of your VIB (very important bicycle) getting damaged during transit. You can read SAA's official statement here.
If you are on a SAA-Mango codeshare flight you will have to adhere to Mango's regulations.