Johannesburg - South African Airways has moved to clarify its baggage policies – and specifically the free baggage allowance – following conflicting information on its website.

Saturday Star Travel last week attempted to get to the bottom of the confusion, following letters from a number of readers complaining that SAA’s information was unclear.

SAA spokeswoman Dileseng Koetle responded to our queries on Friday, too late for inclusion in our story on baggage allowances in last week’s Travel supplement.

After our queries, SAA moved to change the information on its website – – to make the position on baggage dimensions clear.

Koetle said that SAA had specified in previous communication that there were restrictions on baggage dimension size.

However, she added: “Previously, the wording was ‘80cm x 60cm x 18cm = 158cm (62 inches)’…but this has now been changed to read ‘W + L + H = 158cm (62 inches)’.”

She added: “This was implemented to remove the confusion around individual measurements and to ensure that our customers understand that the total dimensions of the bag are restricted, and not each measurement.

“Any piece of baggage with dimensions totalling more than 158cm will be liable for an excess baggage charge, but may still be carried as checked baggage.”

The other maximum dimensions, referred to on and which we also queried with the airline, “are the Acsa-stipulated maximums that can be checked in on the conveyor belt”.

“Any piece of baggage that exceeds these dimensions cannot be accepted as checked baggage by SAA as they will not fit on the conveyor belts.”

Therefore, said Koetle, “any bag with total dimensions exceeding 158cm (length + height + width) will be liable for an excess baggage fee, but may be accepted as checked baggage. Further, any bag exceeding the Acsa-stipulated maximum dimensions will not be accepted as checked baggage.”

There are also restrictions on the weight of the baggage, with limits ranging from 23kg to 32kg, depending on calls and route. Full details (the correct ones) are now on - Saturday Star