South African Airways Check-in

You have the following options to check in for your South African Airways flight: 

  1. Airport desk check-in  
  2. Online check-in
  3. SAA mobile app check-in (Android or iOS)
  4. Social check-in
  5. Airport Curbside check-in 
  6. Self-service kiosk check-in 

South African Airways Check-in Time

  1. Airport Desk Check-in Time
    What is the deadline for checking in at the SAA airport counter?

South African Airways recommends that you check in: 

  • For domestic flights from Johannesburg. At least 90 minutes before departure.
  • For flights from Johannesburg to the U.S. At least 3 hours before departure.
  • Other international flights. At least 2.5 hours before departure.

Airport Counter Closing Times

You must collect your boarding pass before the check-in counters close: 

Counter Closure Time Flights
40 minutes before departure Domestic flights within South Africa departing from East London, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg.
50 minutes before departure International flights departing from Johannesburg for most regional and international airports. 
60 minutes before departure  International flights departing from Johannesburg to Kinshasa, Sao Paolo, Luanda, and Lagos. 
All flights departing from Washington and New York. 
All flights departing from Lilongwe.
90 minutes before departureAll flights departing from Luanda.
2 hours before departure All flights departing from Lagos. 

Note

  • Counter closing times may vary by airport, so always check your e-ticket receipt for the exact closing time. 
  • Boarding starts at least 45 minutes before departure for all flights. Allow enough time for immigration and security checks. 
  • The gate closing time for most flights is as follows: 
    • For domestic flights within South Africa: 15 minutes before departure.
    • For international flights: 20 minutes before departure. 
  1. Online Check-in Time

You can check in online for your South African Airways flight: 

  • For domestic flights (within South Africa). From 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure (most flights).
  • For international flights. From 24 hours to 2 hours before departure (most flights).
  1. Mobile App Check-in Starting and Closing Time

You can check in with your mobile app: 

  • For domestic flights (within South Africa). From 24 hours to 60 minutes before departure (most flights).
  • For international flights. From 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure (most flights).

After you check in, you will automatically receive your mobile boarding pass on your smartphone or tablet. 

  1. Social Check-in Time

You can check in using your Facebook account: 

  • For domestic flights (within South Africa). From 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure (most flights).
  • For international flights. From 24 hours to 2 hours before departure (most flights).

After you check in, you will automatically receive your mobile boarding pass on your smartphone or tablet. 

  1. Curbside (kerbside) Check-in Time

Curbside check-in is a chauffeur transfer service that picks up passengers and drops them off at the private curbside. From boarding passes to check-in, everything is taken care of by the SAA staff. 

This service is available only to the following passengers at the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg. 

  • SAA Voyager Lifetime Platinum members
  • Platinum members
  • Platinum Elect members
  • Investec Enigma clients 
  1. Self-Service Kiosk Check-in Time

You can check in at a self-service kiosk in the airport’s departure area up to 90 minutes before departure for most flights. Just check in, choose your seat, collect your boarding pass, and proceed to the bag drop counter.

Touchscreen self-service kiosks are available at the following airports. 

Domestic AirportsInternational Airports 
Port Elizabeth Johannesburg East London Durban Cape TownJohannesburg AccraLondon Frankfurt Nairobi Sao PauloMauritius Lusaka Hong Kong

How to Check-in Online on South African Airways


A screenshot of South African Airways’ online check-in tool

You can check in online through SAA’s website from 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure for domestic flights, and from 24 hours to 2 hours before departure for international flights. 

To check in online from South African Airways’ website:

  1. Go to FlySAA.com
    (If flying on Mango, select Mango Check-in, otherwise proceed to the next step)
  2. Click on the Check-in tab 
  3. Enter your surname 
  4. Select one of the following from the Form of identification dropdown:
    1. Your Voyager number or
      e-ticket number  
  5. In the next box, enter:
    1. Your Voyager number or
      e-ticket number  
  6. To check in additional passengers, select the box next to Check-in additional passengers; otherwise, leave it blank
  7. Click on the Check-in button  
  8. Follow the prompts to select your flight and check in

When you check-in online, you can also: 

  • Select or change your seat
  • Get your boarding pass sent to your mobile device as a mobile boarding pass
  • Download your electronic boarding pass (most cases)
  • Add your frequent flyer number to your trip 

The following airports accept online check-ins:

Domestic AirportsInternational Airports 
Upington Richards Bay Port Elizabeth Polokwane Pietermaritzburg Phalaborwa Nelspruit Mthatha  Kimberley Johannesburg Hoedspruit George East London Durban Cape Town BloemfonteinWindhoek Washington D.C.Walvis Bay Victoria FallsTete PerthNew York NampulaNairobi MunichMauritius MaunMaseru MaputoManzini LusakaLuanda LondonLivingstone LilongweLagos KinshasaKigali Hong KongHarare GaboroneFrankfurt EntebbeDar es Salaam DakarBlantyre BeiraAntananarivo AccraAbidjan

Passengers Not Eligible for Online Check-in

You will not be able to check in online if:

  • You’re flying from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo.
  • You’re holding an unconfirmed or standby booking.
  • You require medical or special assistance.
  • You’re traveling on a group booking (>9 passengers).
  • You’re an unaccompanied minor. 
  • You’re required to make additional payment.

Note. If your flight is departing from Dar es Salaam, you must collect your boarding pass from the airport check-in counter as home printing of online boarding passes is not possible.

How to Check in with South African Airways Mobile App 

You can check in with your mobile app from 24 hours to 60 minutes before departure for domestic flights, and from 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure for regional and international flights. 

How to check-in
To check in with the South African Airways mobile app:

  • Go to FlySAA.com
  • Enter your booking reference or e-ticket number 
  • Follow the prompts to check in

After the system confirms your details, your mobile boarding pass will appear on your screen. Save it to your device so that you can access it offline and show it at the check-in counter and departure gate, or email to yourself.

You can check in with your mobile device at the following airports. 

Domestic AirportsInternational Airports 
Port Elizabeth Johannesburg East London Durban Cape TownVictoria Falls Sao PauloNairobi MunichMaputo LondonLivingstone KinshasaHong Kong HarareFrankfurt DakarAccra

You can use the mobile app to: 

  • Make a flight booking 
  • Review your flight bookings
  • Check in 
  • Access flight information and timetables
  • Check your flight’s status
  • Track your baggage and cargo 
  • Save your mobile boarding pass
  • Select or change a seat 
  • Manage your Voyager account 
  • Access South Africa Airways’ destination guide 

Passengers Not Eligible for Mobile App Check-in

You will not be able to check in with the mobile app if:

  • You’re holding an unconfirmed or standby booking
  • You require medical or special assistance
  • You’re traveling on a group booking (>9 passengers)
  • You’re an unaccompanied minor 
  • You’re required to make additional payment

Note

  • Mobile app check-in is not available on flights from Johannesburg to Sao Paulo. 

How to Check in through Social Media (Facebook)

You can check in through your Facebook account from 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure for most domestic flights (within South Africa), and from 24 hours to 2 hours before departure for most international flights.  

To check in via your Facebook account:

  • Go to FlySAA.com,  or
    the mobile site, m.flysaa.com (if using a mobile device)
  • Enter your flight details 
  • Select the Social Check-in option 
  • Enter your Facebook details 

(Choose only those profile details you want to share with other travelers) 

You will see a seat map with: 

  • Profile details of other travelers 
  • The seats they have chosen
  • Available seats 
  • Select your seat
    (such as next to someone with similar interests or attending the same event)
  • Follow the prompts to complete your check-in process

After you check in, you will automatically receive your boarding pass.

How to Check in at the Airport Curbside (Kerbside)

The following passengers departing from the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg are eligible to avail of the curbside check-in service:

  • SAA Voyager Lifetime Platinum members
  • Platinum members
  • Platinum Elect members
  • Investec Enigma clients 

How South African Airways’ Curbside Check-in Service Works

  • Arrange for the service 48 hours before departure 
  • A chauffeur-driven car will pick you up from your home or office
  • You’ll be dropped off at the private curbside in Johannesburg airport
  • A concierge will meet you and: 
    • Carry your bags 
    • Handle your check-in formalities 
    • Tag your bags and have them loaded 
  • You can relax in the Business Class lounge till it’s time to board your flight
    (…and also bring along 2 or 3 guests, depending on your membership status)

How to Check in at the Airport’s Self-Service Kiosk 

If you’re holding a confirmed South African Airways booking, you can check in at a self-service kiosk in the airport’s departure area up to 90 minutes before departure for select flights. 

You can use the touchscreen kiosks to:

  • Check in 
  • Select your seat 
  • Print your boarding pass

Touchscreen self-service kiosks are available at the following airports:

Domestic AirportsInternational Airports 
Port Elizabeth Johannesburg East London Durban Cape TownJohannesburg AccraLondon Frankfurt Nairobi Sao PauloMauritius Lusaka Hong Kong

After checking in, collect your boarding pass and proceed to the bag drop counter.

Passengers Not Eligible for Self-Service Kiosk Check-in

You will not be able to check in at a self-service kiosk if:

  • You’re holding an unconfirmed or standby booking
  • You require medical or special assistance
  • You’re traveling on a group booking (>9 passengers)
  • You’re an unaccompanied minor 
  • You’re required to make additional payment

How to Check in at the Airport Desk

South African Airways recommends that you check in: 

  • At least 90 minutes before departure for domestic flights from Johannesburg. 
  • At least 3 hours before departure for Johannesburg–U.S. flights. 
  • At least 2.5 hours before departure for other international flights. 

At the check-in desk, you will be required to present: 

  • Your passport and/or original official ID card 
  • Your other travel documents 

After you present the required documents, you can check in your bags. You will then be assigned a seat (unless you’ve already selected one earlier) and given your boarding pass.

Boarding


When should I be at the boarding gate?

Boarding for all South African Airways flights starts at least 45 minutes prior to a flight’s scheduled departure time. 

The boarding gates close:

  • 20 minutes before departure for international flights 
  • 15 minutes before departure for domestic flights. 

Boarding times vary across airports, so you should always check in advance. If you don’t present yourself at the boarding gate before the boarding deadline, you’ll be denied boarding and not entitled to receive any boarding denial compensation. 

Frequently Asked Questions on South African Airways Check-in

The check-in starting and closing times for South African Airways’ flights are as follows:

Check-in ModeSouth African Airways Flight Check-in and Cut-off Times 
Online Domestic flights (within South Africa). From 24 hours to 90 minutes before departure (most flights).International flights. From 24 hours to 2 hours before departure (but 90 minutes before departure for flights to/from LA, Chicago, San Francisco, or New York).
Mobile AppDomestic flights (within South Africa). From 24 hours to 60 minutes before departure (most flights).International flights. From 24 hours to 90 hours before departure.
Social Check-inDomestic flights (within South Africa). From 24 hours to 60 minutes before departure (most flights).International flights. From 24 hours to 90 hours before departure.
Curbside Check-inYou will be informed by an SAA staff member when the chauffeur will pick you up.
Airport Self-Service Kiosk Up to 90 minutes before departure (select airports).  
Airport Desk South African Airways recommends that you check in: For domestic flights from Johannesburg. At least 90 minutes before departure.For flights from Johannesburg to the U.S. At least 3 hours before departure.Other international flights. At least 2.5 hours before departure.
Airport Counter Closing Times How much time should I keep for airport check-in?You must make sure that you check in and collect your boarding pass before the airport counters close, as shown below. Counter Closure Time Flights 40 minutes before departure Domestic flights within South Africa departing from East London, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg.50 minutes before departure International flights departing from Johannesburg for most regional and international airports. 60 minutes before departure International flights departing from Johannesburg to Kinshasa, Sao Paolo, Luanda, and Lagos. 60 minutes before departure All flights departing from Washington and New York. 60 minutes before departure All flights departing from Lilongwe.90 minutes before departure All flights departing from Luanda.2 hours before departure All flights departing from Lagos. 

You should reach the airport and make sure that you check in:

  • At least 90 minutes before departure for domestic flights from Johannesburg. 
  • At least 3 hours before departure for flights from Johannesburg to the United States. 
  • At least 2.5 hours before departure for other international flights. 

For regional flight deadlines, refer to the table above.

Yes, you can. On the day of travel, just go to the bag drop counter at the airport. Your luggage will be tagged by a staff member and sent to your aircraft. The location of the bag drop counters will be mentioned on the check-in page as well as on your boarding pass. 

Yes, you can change your seat during online check-in. Once you’ve selected or changed your seat while checking in, you will not be able to make further changes.

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