South African Airways (SAA), one of the leading carriers on the African continent, is ready to receive high passenger volumes during the peak holiday travel period.

The holiday period from November to January is traditionally peak travel time on the SAA route network with South African schools closing early in December. At this time of the year many customers will be travelling domestically, regionally or internationally.

Customers are advised to factor in enough time when travelling to the airports, taking into account the impact of traffic and weather conditions – the latter has the potential to affect flights, especially at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) due to afternoon thunder showers and lightning activity that have become a recurring feature during this summer season.

SAA anticipates carrying more than 3 000 youngsters flying as Unaccompanied Minors (UMNR’s) during the December and January period. These young ones aged from 5 to 11 years are intrepid travellers who fly on their own but under SAA’s care and comfort.

Customers are advised that reservations for these brave travellers cannot be booked online, but has to be done through the SAA call centres.  Travellers who are not booked as UMNR’s can be refused travel as SAA has a limited number of unaccompanied minors that may be accepted on each flight. To avoid disappointment customers are encouraged to make special arrangements well in advance for these young travellers.

Special arrangements have been made for UMNR’s. The waiting area for them in Johannesburg will again be a fun place with a host of exciting activities. As part of SAA’s Corporate Social Responsibility, SAA supports strengthening education and encourages young travellers to read stories in the Nalibali books in the waiting areas and on board. The reading material can also be found in kiddies packs on all SAA routes.

Customers are advised to check that when a young traveller is in transit on an international or regional connection from an SAA flight to another airline, that the receiving airline offers transit support and care for the UMNR until the departure of the next flight. Customers can check this on the connecting airline’s website for confirmation hereof. In such instances it is also important to ensure that the travel document requirements are catered for as prescribed by the transit country regulations.

For over-border travel by or with minors, customers are reminded to ensure that they are in possession of all necessary documentation for minors to travel as required by South African Immigration laws. 

Other service initiatives on offer include a family check-in service at counters B21-B23 on selected times over the holiday period at ORTIA for those travelling with small children. Look out for special dedicated check-in lines and the young ones can hand their own documents to check-in staff, as a way of welcoming them on board. Signage and fairies in the form of young helpers dressed in costume will be there to guide customers.

Customers can avoid queues by checking themselves in online or with the mobile check-in app and by tagging their own bags. Remember to not include lithium batteries in toys packed in cabin baggage as this is classified as dangerous goods.  Customers are to familiarise themselves with the gate closure times applicable to the airport from where they depart as well as the destination.

For those customers using SAA lounges, please be reminded that there will not be any flight boarding announcements in the lounges. We therefore encourage customers to keep an eye on the clock while they enjoy the hospitality and offering in our lounges.

SAA invites you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the on board hospitality. SAA wishes customers and their loved ones a great festive season and happy holidays.

Contact SAA Call centres, City Travel Offices or your nearest Travel Agent for assistance.

About South African Airways:

South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 74 destinations, in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier, Mango, within South Africa and across the continent, and nine intercontinental routes from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; and Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA. SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for fourteen consecutive years and the winner of ‘Best Airline staff in Africa’ for four years. SAA has been named the coolest domestic airline at the Sunday Times Generation Next Awards.