No more free rides for your golf clubs on SAA

No more free rides for your golf clubs on SAA

Up to now, South African Airways has allowed its passengers to check in a bag or suitcase plus certain sports gear, including bikes, golf clubs, horse saddles, and sailing equipment - at no extra charge. Well, that's all about to change...


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From November 15 - next Friday - sporting equipment will form part of a passenger's total free baggage allocation. So if you check in a bag, you will pay for your sporting equipment as excess baggage.

I discovered this quite by chance when investigating a complaint by Janus Horn of Durban, who recently traveled to Scotland to play in a golf tournament.

He’d booked a flight on SAA for the final Joburg to Durban leg but when he came to check in on the SAA website, he couldn’t.

When he got to Joburg’s OR Tambo airport, he was told that despite booking that flight on SAA’s website and the flight number being an SA one, it was actually a Mango codeshare ticket and as sporting equipment is not free on Mango, he was made to pay R680 as excess baggage for those golf clubs.

I asked SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali how Horn could have known he’d actually booked himself a Mango ticket, given how he made the booking.

His response: "The sporting equipment allowance is available on all SAA operated flights only. It excludes our codeshare partners and the following flight series 1000-2999 and 7000-8999.

“Mango does charge for the sporting equipment, eg golf clubs and bicycles.” The information about the flight series numbers is on the SAA website, Tlali said.

The flight Horn booked was SA2045.

I thought that was the end of the story until Horn came back to me to say that he’d heard that from November 15, SAA passengers can only check-in one item of baggage.

So unless you travel very light; so light that you can fit your clothes into a small cabin-sized bag or case, you’re going to be paying for your sports stuff on SAA.

What if you book your SAA ticket before November 15 but will only fly after that?

You will not be charged extra for your sports stuff, as long as it doesn’t weigh more than 23kg and falls within certain size limits.

The new rules apply to flights bought on or after November 15.

So if you’re planning to fly to a holiday destination on SAA with sports goods in tow, best you make that booking before November 15.

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