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South African Airways Pet Policy

South African Airways logo

Can my pet fly with me in the cabin? Guide Dogs Only
Can my pet fly with me as checked baggage? Yes (Flights to the US only)
Can my pet fly as air cargo? Yes


South Africa Airways Pet Policy - In Cabin

South African Airways does not permit pets to travel in the cabin with the exception of medically certified service dogs and emotional support dogs (to/from US only).

Service dogs can fly on all routes.

If you are flying with a service dog, the airline must be notified at least 48 hours in advance of departure.

Crates, carriers, passports, microchips and more at



South Africa Airways Checked Baggage Pet Policy

checked baggage As long as you are accompanying your pet, South African Airways may transport your pet in the cargo section of the aircraft as checked baggage on flights to the United States only. 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.


A minimum of 48 hours must be given for pets traveling as checked baggage. All animals must be accompanied by an adult passenger. No snakes will be transported.

Check In

Pet owners should check their pet in at least 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure.

Forms Required

South African Airways agents will need to see CDC import permits (when required), health and rabies certificates. Proof of age should be provided for puppies. Pets under 8 weeks of age will not be transported.


South African Airways Air Cargo Pet Policy

air cargo

South African Airways requires all pets being transported internationally fly as air cargo under an air waybill.

Breed Restrictions:

See Banned Breeds below.

Weather Restrictions:

South African Airways will reevaluate the carriage of pets from or through any city along the route whose temperature exceeds 85°F or falls under 45°F.

Forms Required

Inbound: your pet will need a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by a government veterinarian (international travel) at least 10 days prior to travel. The airline will also require an import permit (inbound international travel).

Outbound: EU Health Certificate, proof of microchip and results of a rabies titer test will be required for destinations in the European Union and other countries (international travel). Blood tests are required for some other African countries.

All forms required for your destination country should be attached to the crate.

Find current requirements to import your pet to South Africa.

Find current requirements to import your pet to other countries.

Crate Requirements:

Crate must be IATA compliant, sturdy, clean and escape proof. Do not use straw in the bottom of the crate. There must be ample room for your pet to stand up and turn around.

Metal hardware should be used to fasten the top and bottom halves of your pet' crate together. Click here for crate requirements.

Need an IATA compliant pet crate? Have a crate already? Need accessories for your crate?


Airports Served


South Africa Airways has routes covering various locations in Africa, Asia, South America, China, European Union, Hong Kong, Israel, India, Japan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and United States.


Puppies and Kittens

South African Airways puppy and kitten policy Kittens and puppies must be at least 8 weeks old to fly on South Africa Airways. Pregnant dogs and cats must have an attestation on the health certificate that certifying that the pet is fit to travel, and there is no risk of birth during the journey. Females with suckling young and unweaned animals will not be accepted for carriage.


Breed Restrictions

Banned Dogs Sout African Airways

Snub-nosed dogs, such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Pekinese and Pugs should be transported in a crate with an open mesh door that extends the height of the crate. Adequate ventilation must be provided. The pet must not display respiratory issues.


Need more information?

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The information published here is a guideline for airline pet policies for South African Airways. Further detail on airline pet policies as well as pet passport information are available at minimal cost at We also stock all the equipment and accessories you will need for traveling with your pet. Same day shipping Monday through Friday until 4:00 PM EST.



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