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Airline Pet Policy South African Airlines
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To the best of our ability, we ensure that recommendations given on reflect the current airline regulations. We cannot predict how a given airline may enforce these regulations. Noncompliance may result in the need to deny boarding for your pet. We suggest that you minimize the disruptions that may occur by carefully following the rules of the airline you are using.

Home > Airline Pet Policies > South African Airlines

Airline Pet Policy SAA South African Airways

South African Airways dog

SAA South African Airways will not allow your dog, cat or other animal to travel in the cabin with the exception of medically certified service animals.

If your pet is too large to fit under the seat, if it is an animal other than a dog or cat, or if it is a very long flight, SAA South African Airways may transport your pet in the cargo section of the aircraft according to its regulations. This section of the cargo department has the same temperature and pressure as the passenger cabin. TIP: Be sure to tell the Captain of the aircraft that your pet is flying in the cargo hold so that they can be sure to keep the temperature at the proper level. Find more tips on airline pet travel in cargo.

If your pet is traveling in the cargo section, whether through the cargo department or as checked baggage, it must be in a pet crate that is IATA compliant. Learn more about IATA compliant pet crates.  We also suggest that you consider crate hardware for your pet's crate as more airlines are requiring it. Once you receive your crate, you will need to acclimate your dog or cat to it before traveling. Our guide for preparing your pet and its crate for travel is helpful, especially for first time pet travelers. Download Preparing Your Pet and Its Crate for Travel.

South African Airways Pet Policy

Many airlines require a health certificate indicating that the pet is healthy enough for travel, is free of diseases communicable to humans and has been properly vaccinated, especially when traveling in the cargo section of the aircraft. A Health Certificate completed by your veterinarian within 10 days of travel is required by South African Airways when your pet is traveling as manifest cargo.

If you are traveling to another country, SAA South African Airways will want to see that you have the proper documents to enter that country with your pet. Most countries have their own version of a Veterinary Certificate. In addition, some countries require an Import Permit. Find pet passport forms and instructions in the Pet Travel Store.

When runway temperatures are above 84F (29C) degrees at the departure airport, SAA South African Airways may refuse to board your pet as cargo or checked baggage. When the weather is very cold with a runway temperature below 45F (7C) degrees at the time of departure, SAA South African Airways may require what is called an Acclimation Certificate. Learn more about the pet travel airline temperature restrictions.

GOT QUESTIONS??? We're happy to help. Please post to our blog or forum.
GOT COMMENTS??? It would be great of you to enter them below. Your experiences will provide insight to all pet travelers!!

Why so mutch of nonsens to bring my little doggies to me in Dubai.
Posted on 2013-06-22 06:50:07.0
We are living in Lagos Nigeria and are relocating back to South Africa..We have an African Ringneck Parakeet...How do we go about relocating the bird?
Posted on 2013-07-08 10:49:53.0
You will have to contact Petwings or one of the other pet "emigration" companies in SA and see what advice they have to offer. I suspect that birds are not quite robust enough to handle the whole affair, but who knows?!
Posted on 2013-07-08 11:45:57.0
Does anyone know if is necessary for a dog to be under quarantine after arriving South Africa?
Posted on 2013-07-09 15:57:13.0
not nececary if ''veterinary import permit'' requirements are complied. You have first to apply at Directorate Animal Health (permit office) Enquires Mrs Ina Labuscache Tel +27 12 319 7514 Fax +27 12 329 8292
Posted on 2013-07-19 07:53:25.0
We will be moving to Zambia and want to take our 2 Golden Retrievers with us. We will be returning home to South Africa once or twice a year on holiday. Is it possible to have a multiple entry passport between South Africa and Zambia so they can travel with us?
Posted on 2013-08-19 16:39:05.0
how much will it cost me to take a pit bull puppy naigeria from SA
Posted on 2013-09-13 20:42:08.0
Can a person board a pet parot as cargo or in cabin? From East London to Cape Town...flight 8th Decemebr 2013 already booked for passenger
Posted on 2013-10-20 11:09:57.0
Sir/Madam, I would like to know the cost of shipping a puppy from south Africa to Nigeria.I would also like to know if there is a direct flight from south Africa to Port Harcourt in Nigeria. Thanks Azuka
Posted on 2013-11-25 17:59:23.0
Azuka - Nigeria is a challenging country to bring a pet. The puppy has to be fully vaccinated and they do post titer test requirements. More here: I cannot find a direct flight on major commercial airlines.
Posted on 2013-12-03 03:52:54.0
You may find an airline that will transport a bird in the cabin, but I doubt you will find one on this route. That said, your parrot should be able to travel as checked baggage if your airline offers that service, otherwise as manifest cargo. Call your airline to inquire. I am not familiar with requirements to ship parrots to SA.
Posted on 2013-12-03 03:56:07.0
Your puppy will need to be fully vaccinated and have a titer test prior to entering Nigeria. You will also need an Import Permit and health certificate. You can find details here:
Posted on 2013-12-03 03:57:06.0
Assuming my dog clears all the expected hurdles/requirement to be brought into Nigeria,which airline do you recommend i use since there seem not to be a direct flight from South Africa to Nigeria.
Posted on 2013-12-03 22:27:33.0
Azuka Oledibemma If you are flying from Johannesburg to Lagos, South African Airways has a direct flight. If you can arrange it, might be easier to transport the puppy on the ground from Lagos to Port Harcourt. Just a suggestion as I don't see an easy way to fly otherwise.
Posted on 2013-12-06 05:01:47.0
Sir, i wanna purchase a boerboel pet from south africa to abuja nigeria. Pls is this possible and what's the estimated cost of shipping?
Posted on 2013-12-10 04:50:28.0
Nigeria takes some preparation ahead of time. Your puppy must be vaccinated and a Blood Titer Test must be given. You can find details here: There is also a challenge finding an airline that flies the entire route.
Posted on 2013-12-13 01:48:58.0
It depends on where your pet is entering SA from.
Posted on 2014-01-02 00:20:41.0
I will be relocating to Cape Town from the US, traveling with my two cats; a siamese that is 7lbs. and an American Shorthair that is 17lbs. The siamese is very small, will airlines--specifically SAA--allow her to fly in the cabin with me in her travel bag that fits under the seat?
Posted on 2014-01-22 02:45:26.0
SAA will not permit pets to travel in the cabin unless they are service animals. This is an airline requirement made because the country requires pets to travel as manifest cargo, even if they are in the cabin. They must be surrendered at landing. This is something the airlines do not like to do. It is also a long trip. Not sure if you can find another airline that will permit it.
Posted on 2014-01-23 04:35:10.0
Hello, I will be relocating from Boston Massachusetts U.S.A, to Maseru Lesotho. I want to bring my 1.5 year old Bichon Frise with me. How much will it cost to fly with him, and finally, since the dog is not with me in the cabin, how does connecting flights work if my dog is in the cargo. My flight itinerary is like this: From Boston to New York, from New york to Johannesburg, and from Johannesburg to Lesotho. Travel time is approximately 21hours. I am just worried that my pet will be forgotten. How will he be fed. Will I see him every time I am connecting flights?
Posted on 2014-01-27 23:42:59.0
What's going on? Omggggg are u moving to Lesotho?
Posted on 2014-01-28 00:54:54.0
Keaboka - you will have to contact the airline for the cost of transport. Be sure and stay on SAA for the entire trip, and the airlines will transport your pet between flights. Keep the layovers around 2 hours except when your pet is customs cleared in Johannesburg. As for care, the airline should make sure your pet is hydrated and fed during layovers if you tape food to the top of the crate. Be proactive with the airline crew and ask for loading confirmation in each city.
Posted on 2014-01-29 03:47:19.0
if one moves to america from south africa with a very small dog (min pin) and cat, how much does it cost for them and do they need to be in quarantine when they land in USA?
Posted on 2014-03-05 20:09:37.0
Hey, Keaboka, I am moving from Nashville, TN, USA to Maseru and want to bring my cat. Did you make your trip already, and if so, how did it go?
Posted on 2014-03-07 06:51:02.0
No Patrick, I have yet to travel. But PetTravel's response was very helpful. It looks like it will cost me at least 900 dollars extra to take my pet.
Posted on 2014-03-07 23:48:16.0
Hi Tanja! No quarantine in the USA, we are very pet friendly. Your pets need to be vaccinated for rabies and have a health certificate issued by your vet to enter. You can find details here: You will need to contact the airline for the cost of transport. If you tell me what cities you are leaving from and arriving to, I could give you some airlines that serve your route.
Posted on 2014-03-08 13:37:15.0
I am flying with my small dog to Tanzania. Harare to ORT JHB/Dar Es Salaam. There is a 6 hour transit from landing at ORT JHB to departure for Tanzania. I have heard that the pets at ORT are not well cared for, water is not given, owners have no access. The dog will be in its cage from 5.45 a.m to landing @ What assurances of pet care are there from SAA?
Posted on 2014-03-09 10:00:35.0
Esme - we are not SAA. You need to contact them to ask that question. Sorry we could not be of more assistance.
Posted on 2014-03-10 05:02:10.0
Thank you
Posted on 2014-03-10 06:00:27.0
I would love to fly with my cross breed Japanese & Terrier from Kenya to Nigeria what are the requirement and and how much will it cost on SAA flight
Posted on 2014-03-25 07:45:19.0
Barack - Nigeria will require a titer test no sooner than one month after rabies vaccination and no sooner than 3 months prior to import from some countries which they don't publish. You can try contacting the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture. You will also need an Import Permit. You can find details here: You can also check the requirements for re-entering Kenya here: Seems both places have the titer requirement.
Posted on 2014-03-26 04:08:05.0
please would be sending a small dog from South Africa to my girl friend in Ghana as a bday present. how much would it cost please..
Posted on 2014-03-28 00:43:46.0
crazy boy
Posted on 2014-03-30 14:29:16.0
We are not South African Airways and you will need to inquire to them for the cost. However, there are requirements for animals to enter Ghana. You will need an Import Permit, proof of rabies vaccination and veterinary certificate. You can find details here and links to instructions and forms required here:
Posted on 2014-03-31 03:35:33.0
I am trying to find a cargo agent that can handle the customs clearance only for my pet (origin - SA and destination - UK). I have got the paperwork and travel crate etc. but am not allowed to submit the airway bill myself. No one wants to quote me on just this portion of the process :| Can someone help or point me to a company that can assist (is willing)
Posted on 2014-04-30 08:44:54.0
Presume you are not travelling with your pet (details missing) IF you are there are other procedures which are easier and cheaper.
Posted on 2014-05-01 10:27:00.0
Try You can find licensed agents there. Search by country or airport. Best of luck.
Posted on 2014-05-02 14:23:48.0
Try Jet-a-Pet.
Posted on 2014-05-16 14:21:52.0
I might relocate to Dubai and want to take my cat with me... I'm from cape town. where do I start and on average how much will everything cost
Posted on 2014-06-23 13:33:32.0
Have you sorted this out? If no, do send an email to
Posted on 2014-07-07 17:12:06.0
Hi all, if you have any reason to transport pets from anywhere in the world to Nigeria, we can handle same for you. Please send an email to containing all details (breed/species, age, weight, location, etc) and we will get back to you with a quote. You can also call us on +234 806 803 2669
Posted on 2014-07-07 17:16:35.0
Hi sir, have you sorted this out? If not, please send us an email via with the details so you get a quote
Posted on 2014-07-07 17:19:03.0
Gabriela Eibenberger Hi Gabriella. Read your note above. I'm moving to UK from SA in March next year. What are the cheaper options? I will be travelling with my dog, she's a ridgeback. Thanks. Bridget
Posted on 2014-07-14 16:56:17.0
Hello Mishka - there are rather strict requirements for taking a cat into the UAE including an Import Permit, microchip, rabies vaccination and titer test. You can find all of the details including to links to instructions and forms required here if you need them: Your pet must arrive as manifest cargo which is more expensive than checked baggage. Contact Emirates Sky Cargo or South African Airways for details and the cost as they have a non-stop flight between the two cities.
Posted on 2014-07-15 04:49:20.0
Hi, I was waiting my dog to travel form Portugal on monday 12 august. now the flight company phone to tell that there is na embargo to live animals importation in South Africa. does anyone knows about this? when started the embargo? up to when? please can anyone help me with this information? thanks in advane
Posted on 2014-08-08 19:26:02.0
Is there any way I can fly my french bulldog in cabin with me? If i book him his own seat? It's not safe to fly them in cargo, going from uk to Cape Town. Thanks
Posted on 2014-08-11 23:18:20.0
In america I know you can if you can get them cleared as a service dog but to my knowledge thats the only way x
Posted on 2014-08-12 10:09:19.0
I sat with a woman in NY who had her dog for anxiety...
Posted on 2014-08-12 10:11:02.0
Rachael - Cassie is right. The only way to have your French Bulldog fly in the cabin (due to its size) is if it is classified as a service animal or emotional support animal. You can find out more information here:
Posted on 2014-08-13 01:50:59.0
Filomena - we hear that the problem is with Lufthansa. We have not heard of any country embargo on importing pet animals..
Posted on 2014-08-13 02:06:35.0
thank you!
Posted on 2014-08-13 06:01:19.0
I can have him classed as an emotional support animal, I was given the impression when I called SAA that only guide dogs were allowed in cabin? Could you double check? If your right that's wonderful news :)
Posted on 2014-08-13 08:29:59.0
It says on that link Therapy dogs do not qualify as service animals :(
Posted on 2014-08-13 08:32:16.0
Fly something else like Lufthansa they allow in their own seats :)
Posted on 2014-08-13 13:25:28.0
Rachael - we did double check and you are right. :o( Although SA does require that animals arrive as manifest cargo, they can fly in the cabin as long as the airline allows it. You will still pay the charge as if your pet flew as cargo. You can try Lufthansa or any US based airlines to see if they will permit it. Normally, foreign flagged carriers are not as sensitive to the needs of disabled individuals and not required to confirm to ADA rules.
Posted on 2014-08-17 01:03:43.0
pls am in ghana i wana transport my puppy to nigeria i wont be flying with her though,,,i would be in nigeria a day before she arrives what should i do?
Posted on 2014-08-19 19:36:59.0
Kelvin - your puppy needs to be vaccinated for rabies and titer tested. You will also need an import permit. All of the requirements can be found here:
Posted on 2014-08-23 15:41:01.0
Hello, I live in Johannesburg and am hoping to fly my two Jack Russells to Harare, Zimbabwe for two weeks over Christmas. Could you please advise a) what documentation we need in order for them to get into Harare, and b) what documentation we need in order for them to come back into South Africa after the holiday? Many thanks, Avril
Posted on 2014-10-13 11:01:24.0
I will be traveling from Italy to Jhb.Where will my service dog (labrador) have to stay?I already have his passport,vaccinations etc.etc
Posted on 2014-10-13 13:00:04.0
Hi, Does SAA have any restrictions that would prevent a Pug flying from New York through Johannesburg onto Windhoek? It's a long flight and I know very well that some airlines are nervous about transporting snub-nosed dogs (our's is a young, healthy pug though). Thanks!
Posted on 2014-10-13 15:45:52.0
Bobby - SAA does not publish breed restrictions. Most airlines that have them publish them. We would suggest contacting them directly and inquire.
Posted on 2014-10-14 04:38:58.0
Avril - to take your Jack Russells to Zimbabwe, they will need a n import permit, proof of rabies vaccination 30 days in advance and health certificates. (details here: It will be a bit more difficult to return to SA. You will need an import permit, microchips, proof of rabies vaccination, Blood Titer Test and some other blood tests as well as a health certificate. Details here and links to instructions and forms here if you need them: Get as much done as you can just prior to leaving as there are approved labs in SA.
Posted on 2014-10-14 04:45:08.0
Your Labrador can travel in the cabin as long as your airline's policies allow it. Officials will need to take your pet for veterinary inspection when you land. There should be no quarantine imposed as long as all requirements are met.
Posted on 2014-10-14 04:49:11.0
PetTravel Thanks so much!
Posted on 2014-10-14 09:17:18.0
Hallo ek wil my kat van Ghana na SA bring ons vlieg die 28ste Nov. Ons land die 29ste die Saterdag hoe ontvang ek my kat en kan ek dadelik met haar Welkom toe gaan. Kan julle asb so gaaf wees en vir my die nodige dokumentasie email na Alles wat ek nodig het en moet doen baie dankie
Posted on 2014-10-26 16:51:37.0
Hallo - jy kan vind die vereistes vir die totstandkoming van 'n troeteldier aan Suid-Afrika op hierdie bladsy: Daar is 'n vertaling knoppie in die boonste linkerhoek. Jou troeteldier sal onderhewig aan 14 dae kwarantyn by aankoms wees.
Posted on 2014-10-30 13:04:05.0

Need to get 4 dogs from South Africa to UK, or possibly ireland. Anyone know how much this costs? if you have all the relevant health certificates? thanks
Posted on 2014-10-30 14:59:32.0
What would the cost be to fly a dog from UK to johannesburg?
Posted on 2014-11-01 20:48:51.0
Hi there, I'm in Cape Town but would like to know an approximate cost of having one or two cats transported from Dubai. Thank you
Posted on 2014-11-08 20:11:51.0
The cost will depend on the airline you choose, how big the dogs are and when they will be traveling. You can contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route for the cost. The EU and UK are changing the rules as of 12/29/14 and pets that are not traveling within 5 days of their owners will be subject to different regulations. You can find details here:
Posted on 2014-11-11 17:22:13.0
Widaad - we do not quote costs for transporting pets. There are simply too many variables involved. You may want to contact SAS Cargo with your inquiry.
Posted on 2014-11-11 17:23:50.0

Hi, please advise price to fly a cat from Durban to Nairobi. Thank you!
Posted on 2014-11-13 15:39:53.0
Desray - you will need to contact SAA directly for the cost of transport.
Posted on 2014-11-15 16:15:40.0

Thank you, will do
Posted on 2014-11-16 16:04:00.0
Irma - we do not quote costs to fly pets. Too many variables involved. You will need to contact the airline for this information.
Posted on 2014-11-18 03:53:35.0
hi there I am south african flying from panama city with my puppy and I wanted to know what I would need to bring her into south africa
Posted on 2014-11-19 20:02:25.0
Hi I bring my dog from India 4years back n now I m moving back to India .do I need a emport or export certificate and NOC from India ,I am an Indian and my dog is also an indian :)
Posted on 2015-01-13 15:44:11.0
Hi Cloe - you will need to have your vet do 5 different blood tests to enter SA. Your puppy will also need an import permit, proof of rabies vaccination, microchip and vet certificate. Read the details here and let us know if you have more questions.:
Posted on 2015-01-19 02:07:59.0
HI I have two german shephard dogs and I want them to transport from Durban , South Africa to Lucknow, India.Please do let me know the formalities and rates.Can they travel with us?
Posted on 2015-01-21 10:23:57.0
Hi Neena - your pets can travel with you as accompanied checked baggage in the cargo to India. You must have a residency visa or proof that you will be living in the country. You will need someone in India assist you with obtaining a NOC (No Objection Certificate). You can find the requirements for importing pets to India here with links to instructions and forms if you need them:
Posted on 2015-01-24 21:25:47.0
Can a pet be shipped from South Africa to a purchaser in the US via COD?
Posted on 2015-02-12 05:52:38.0
Sheryl - we have never heard of that happening. Really makes no sense because there would be no agency to collect the money. Sounds like a scam. BTW, if the pet is a puppy, it would need to be 6 months of age before it could enter the country.
Posted on 2015-02-16 04:55:55.0
Hi there, We are in Delhi and we want to take our labrador all the way to Argentina by SA. These are 3 connecting flights so is a very long trip of nearly 26 hours. How airlines manage the connection with pets? It would be bad for my dog to miss any of our flights... Besides, we may have 6-7 hours of waiting in Johannesburg. Can we see our dog at that time?
Posted on 2015-02-19 14:21:49.0
Mariano - you need to ask the airlines this question. 6-7 hours is a long time for the airline to hold your pet and you will need to confirm with them that you do not have to claim and recheck your pet because that will mean you have to clear customs and enter the country. Additionally, the airlines cannot guarantee that your pet will travel on the same airline as you although they try to make it so. You can ask before boarding whether your pet will be loaded.
Posted on 2015-02-25 03:11:55.0
Hi, I wonder if it's advisable to fly with my mini Yorkie 1.7 kg from London to South Africa. Thanks!
Posted on 2015-03-02 13:37:57.0
Hi, I am travelling to Mozambique for three months, June - August 2015.I want to bring my border Collie x kelpie, is this possible? What are the costs of making this happen?
Posted on 2015-03-08 23:04:34.0
Edina - it is possible, although it will be difficult to find an airline that will transport your Yorkie in the cabin. You can find the regulations for importing a pet to South Africa as well as links to instructions and forms here if you need them:
Posted on 2015-03-16 04:16:47.0
Hi Steph - it is possible to bring your Collie to Mozambique, although an import permit is required and that may take some time. You can find all the requirements to bring your pup to Mozambique with links to forms and instructions if you need them:
Posted on 2015-03-16 04:19:13.0
I have 5 cats, can two share a crate or do I have to have 5 crates. Thinking of Durban Ireland, also quickest route would be on emirates or do they have to go via Heathrow before landing in Ireland?
Posted on 2015-03-24 11:40:41.0