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South African Airways (SAA) is the national flag carrier of South Africa with its hub at OR Tambo International Airport, Gauteng, South Africa. The airline is a member of Star Alliance and also has codeshare agreements with Air ChinaAir MauritiusAir SeychellesAsiana AirlinesEl AlEmiratesEtihad Airways and Saudia. South African Airways offers flights to safari parks such as Kruger National park, find out more about safari flights here.

Want to book flights today and pay later? Take a look at our guide on booking South African Airways flights and paying later for more information.

Pay Later for South African Airways Flights with PayJustNow

Did you know that you can use PayJustNow at Alternative Airlines to pay for your South African Airways flights?

Pay later for your South African Airways flights using PayJustNow, a flexible Buy Now Pay Later available to residents of South Africa.

PayJustNow, a South African Buy Now, Pay Later service, lets you split your flight payments into 3 interest-free instalments. There are no hidden fees as long as you make your payments on time. This makes managing travel expenses a breeze, allowing you to enjoy your trip now and pay comfortably over a short period.

Baggage Policy

You're baggage allowance will depend on the ticket fare you purchased at the time of booking. As a standard, SAA passengers are allowed to bring 1 personal item free of charge.

Carry-on Baggage

All passengers are allowed to bring carry-on baggage onboard the aircraft as long as it does not exceed 8kg and 56cm x 36cm x 23cm (L x W x H). One personal item is also allowed onboard for every passenger.

Economy class passengers are allowed one hand baggage whereas business class passengers are allowed to have two baggage.

Checked Baggage

Economy class passengers are entitled to one baggage that weighs less than 23kg. Business class passengers are allowed to check-in two pieces of baggage that do not weigh over 32kg.

The sum of the three dimensions of the checked baggage should not exceed 158cm.

Cabin Classes

South African Airways (SAA) has 2 cabin classes which you can choose from - Economy or Business Class.

Economy Class

Short-haul economy class has comfortable seats and adjustable headrests. Overhead entertainment screens are available for passengers as well as well-designed seats.

Long-haul economy seats are equipped with personal 10-inch screens and USB ports.

Business Class

Short-haul business class seats have USB and laptop charging points available with plenty of legrooms available.

Long-haul business class seats are equipped with power outlets and flat bed available.

In-flight Entertainment & WIFI

In flight entertainment is available on most aircraft. It has the latest movies, TV shows and documentaries available onboard.


There are no Wi-Fi onboard the aircraft.

Food & Drink

All passengers will receive free meals or snacks and drinks onboard, this depends on the duration of the flight.

Special Meals

If you have food allegy or any dietary requirements, please order online 48 hours before scheduled departure time. Kosher meals will need to be ordered 72 hours prior to scheduled departure time.


South African Airways (SAA) allows passengers to check in at the airport and online.

Online Check-in

Online check-in for flights opens 24 hours before flight departure time and closes 90 minutes before flight departure time on domestic flights and 120 minutes before international flights. You can check-in online by entering your flight details on the South African Airways online check-in page

Airport Check-in

The airline recommends checking in 90 minutes before flight departure time for domestic flights, two and a half hours before for international flights and three hours before for flights from Johannesburg to the US.

Frequent Flyer Programme

South African Airways' frequent flyer programme is called 'Voyager'.


The airline offers regular passengers with the airline a frequent flyer programme, Voyager, to reward travellers whereby they can redeem miles on a choice of flights, upgrades and car rental.

SAA is the official airline of the Association of Tennis Professionals. SAA owns Mango, a low cost domestic airline, and has established links with Airlink and South African Express. It currently operates as a member of the Star Alliance.

Country flags

Destinations that South African Airways flies to

South African Airways flies to many destinations including Abidjan, Abu Dhabi, Accra, Alexander Bay, Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Bangkok, Beijing, Blantyre, Bloemfontein, Brazzaville, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dakar, Douala, Dubai, Entebbe, East London, Frankfurt, Francistown, Gaborone, Hamburg, Harare, Mahe, Madrid, Miami, Mumbai, Munich, Nairobi and many others.

Alternatives to South African Airways

Discover other airlines that fly a similar route to South African Airways.

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Hub Airport

O.R. Tambo International Airport

O.R. Tambo International Airport is a major international airport in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa and is the hub airport for South African Airways.

The airport has two runways and handled more than 20 million passengers every year. Other airlines which fly to and from O.R. Tambo International Airport include Air BotswanaAir ChinaAir FranceAir SeychellesEgyptAirEL AlEthiopian AirlinesEtihad AirwaysKululaLIFT Airline, Singapore Airlines and Saudia. This airport is also featured on our best airports for shopping blog, be sure to check it out!


South African Airways currently consists of the follwing Aircraft:

  • 3x A319-100
  • 8x A320-200
  • 3x A330-200
  • 5x A330-300
  • 3x A340-300
  • 1x A340-600
  • 4x A350-900

Frequently asked questions

When were South African Airways established?

On the 1st February 1934, the South African Government occupied Union Airways’ assets and liabilities which then helped to establish South African Airways. The airline then became South Africa’s flag carrier.

How much baggage is allowed on South African Airways?

The standard free baggage allowance for Economy Class is 1 piece that does not exceed 23kg. In Business Class the standard free baggage allowance is 2 pieces that do not exceed 32kg per piece. If additional baggage is needed then the airline permits a total of 3 pieces per passenger.

Where does South African Airways fly?

South African Airways travel to more than 5 different international destinations spanning across multiple countries, these include Sydney, Rome, and Abu Dhabi. The airline also serves a number of domestic destinations. If you are struggling with which destination to choose, take a look at our website for a full list of where South African Airways operates.

Can I buy South African Airways flights on finance?

Of course! When you book through Alternative Airlines you can buy South African Airways flights and spread the cost over time by choosing one of our flexible Buy Now Pay Later payment methods at checkout including Afterpay and Klarna.

Other pay-later options in South Africa:

  • PayJustNow (available at checkout with Alternative Airlines)
  • Mobicred (currently unavailable at Alternative Airlines)
  • Payflex (currently unavailable at Alternative Airlines)