What to expect when flying with your bicycle in South Africa

All that you need to know when taking your bike onboard local carriers, as taken with care from their individual instructions and summarized below.

*Please note that almost all local airlines have special arrangements in place during events like the CTCT and it is very likely that you will have to drop off your bicycle as cargo long in advance to your own flight — your bicycle will not be with you on the same flight — and you will be notified when it arrives at your destination, ready for collection.

How to fly with your bike on these 7 airlines

EXTRA: Safair has a great guide on how to fly with your bicycle, complete with a video clip showing how it works in a perfect world when flying from CPT International. Another good resource is the RedBull How to travel with your bike like a pro. And here is an example of the aforementioned special conditions when flying your bicycle to the Cape Town Cycle Tour from SAA.

How to fly with your bicycle on kulula.com
How to fly with your bicycle on Kulula.com: Full-on Travel


Allowance — You’re allowed to travel with one 20kg bag for free. If you’re travelling with your sports equipment in addition to your free baggage allowance, we recommend you purchase an extra bag online for less to cover your sports equipment.

Dimensions — The maximum dimensions permitted for any sports equipment are 190 x 75 x 65 cm. If your equipment exceeds 20kg a ‘heavy bag’ fee is charged. Max weight = 20kg If between 20 and 32kg – a heavy bag fee will apply Will be accepted regardless of dimensions*

Costs — You can save and purchase extra bags when booking online or 2 hours before flight departure at a cost of R250. Buy extra bags by managing your flight here.

Travelling with a bicycle — Bicycles must be disassembled and packed according to aircraft requirements and checked in no later than 90 minutes prior to departure.

Guidelines for disassembly — Remove front wheel // Shift to the highest gear and remove back wheel if necessary // Remove pedals // Lower or remove seat post // Turn handle bars sideways and tape to the frame, ensuring the front forks are secured // Remove any accessories // Deflate the bicycle tyres.

Packing — Pack your bicycle in a box or a specially manufactured bike case // Place any accessories in the box // Only bike parts must be packed in the box // No part of the bike must protrude out of the box. Seal, label and tag.

If you have any queries call our Contact Centre 0861 KULULA (585852).

MORE ON kulula.com

How to fly with your bicycle on British Airways: Flag carrier of the UK
How to fly with your bicycle on British Airways: Flag carrier of the UK

British Airways

You can take a non-motorised bicycle of up to 190cm (75in) in length onto our flights, as part of your ticket’s checked baggage allowance, but you must notify your travel agent or our British Airways Customer Support team (depending on who you booked with) that you’re intending to do this. We need you to tell us in advance because we have limited hold space on some of our aircraft – by letting us know, we can plan ahead and it will be more likely that your bike will travel on your flight with you — however, as with all hold baggage, this is not guaranteed and we cannot confirm this.

On Comair — Our franchise partner operates across southern Africa. Their weight limits apply to each bag. It’s not possible to split the total weight across multiple bags. Economy flights within South Africa:  
1 bag (max. 23kg / 51lb per bag) and Business flights within South Africa: 2 bags (max. 32kg / 70lb per bag).

Bicycles — You can take non-motorised pedal bicycles in a bike cover/box as part of your checked baggage allowance. If you’ve used your free checked baggage allowance, you’ll have to pay to put your bike box in the hold.

Call in advance — There’s limited hold space on smaller aircrafts so, by telling us in advance, your bike’s more* likely to travel on your flight with you. Call us at least 72 hours before you fly as we need to know how big your bike container is and, if possible, how much it weighs. Clothes and other personal items must not be packed in your bike bag/box.

Dimensions — Your bike can be in a heavy-duty polythene bike bag, padded case or hard shell up to 190 x 95 x 65cm (75 x 37.5 x 25.5in). If it’s a non-rigid bag, please make sure the handlebars are fixed sideways and the pedals removed or fixed inwards. It’s also best to reduce tyre pressures.

Packing — Your bike should be packed in a protective bag or box (the manufacturer’s box is fine, if sealed well), and clearly labelled with your details on the outside and inside (fastened to the bike frame). Thin polythene covers aren’t recommended by us because they offer very little protection – which means that if you arrive with your bike in one, our airport team might ask you to sign a damage disclaimer.

Charges — If you’ll exceed your checked baggage allowance by taking your bike, or if you’re on one of our Basic fares with only a hand baggage allowance, you can pre-pay for an extra item of baggage to cover transporting your bike. The cost to do this is the same as if you was arranging to take a suitcase, and we’ve got an online discounted price if you want to arrange it before you arrive at the airport: Arranging and paying for extra checked baggage

Cargo — Anything heavier or larger than the maximum checked baggage dimensions must be shipped as cargo. Any questions? Contact British Airways South Africa, here.

MORE ON ba.com

How to fly with your bicycle on Safair: For the love of flying
How to fly with your bicycle on Safair: For the love of flying


Bicycles — This excludes motorised bicycles. Non-motorised bicycles must be disassembled and packed according to aircraft requirements and checked in no later than 90 minutes prior to departure.

Costs and dimensions — Sports equipment will be charged at R285.00 per item per person per flight and is limited to 32kg. Maximum dimensions allowed for sporting equipment: 190 x 75 x 65 cm

Heavy LuggageOur standard checked luggage allowance is 20kg. Bags that are over 20kgs will be charged a fixed heavy luggage fee of R250 per piece at the airport. For the sake of simplicity we charge a single flat fee, rather than a scaled fee. Any bag over 32kg will have to be transported as cargo.

Cargo — Sporting equipment weighing in excess of 32kg will be transported as cargo at the passengers, own expense and may not be carried on the same flight with you.

Questions — When you check-in for your flight, you will be required to answer the following questions: Did you pack your bags yourself? // Have your bags been with you at all times? // Have your bags been under your control at all times? // Are you carrying any item given to you by someone else? // Do you have any dangerous goods in your luggage. 

Packing — Here’s a guide on how to pack your bike properly: Remove the front wheel, partially deflate the tyres to reduce the risk of damage // Turn the handlebars so they’re in line with the frame // Remove any attachments, including pedals // Ensure the gearing is especially well protected // Protect the frame with bubble wrap // Shift to the highest gear // Pack your bicycle in a box or a specially manufactured bike case // Only bike parts must be packed in the box // Box to be sealed and tagged // No part of the bike should protrude out of the box //

Tools & bombs — Please note that no bicycle tools will be allowed on as hand luggage. Four CO2 gas cartridges, not exceeding 28g each, per bike are allowed.

If you have any concerns please advise your FlySafair check-in consultant at the airport.

MORE ON flysafair.co.za

How to fly with your bicycle on Mango Airlines: Affordable South African Domestic Flights
How to fly with your bicycle on Mango Airlines: Affordable South African Domestic Flights

Mango Airlines

No liability — Mango accepts bicycles under limited liability, and suggests that Guest package their bicycles in a durable box or container. Mango accepts no liability for loss or damages of any kind related to bicycle handling.

Costs — A handling fee will be charged per bicycle per flight. This was not specified but we will contact them and find out how much they typically charge, bearing in mind that this may differ during peak event times like the CTCT.

Dimensions — The combined weight of the bicycle and the box or container may not exceed 32kg, or exceed one and a half (1.5) metres in width or two (2) metres in height/length

Inspection & refusal — Boxes or containers may only be sealed or locked once the check in agent has inspected the box or container as per regulation. No additional items may be included in the box or container. We reserve the right to refuse to accept your bicycle for carriage if it is not packaged in a durable box or container.

Bombs — Only two (2) C02 inflation canisters may be included in the Guest’s carry-on baggage. These canisters are regarded as prohibited items as checked baggage and may NOT be checked-in.

IMPORTANT — During cycle challenges/events, Mango may implement a bicycle handling procedures which differs from the regular bicycle check in process. This procedure may differ at each airport. Guests may be required to drop off their bicycle(s) at a different location, so please familiarise yourself with check in cut off times.

Different flight — Due to space and operational requirements, bicycle(s) may not travel on the same flight as you during such events/challenges, regardless of whether you are participating in such events/challenges. Guests will not be notified once bicycles arrive. The service provider responsible for the handling of bicycles at that time must be contacted according to the communication details provided to the Guest at the time.

No deliveries — No bicycle(s) will be delivered by MANGO. For more information please contact the Mango call centre on 086 100 1234.

MORE ON flymango.com

How to fly with your bicycle on South African Airways: A Star Alliance Member
How to fly with your bicycle on South African Airways: A Star Alliance Member

South African Airways

While we go out of our way to encourage your healthy lifestyle and sporting adventures, charges on sports equipment may apply on both international and domestic flights.

Excess charges — Sporting equipment will form part of the free baggage allowance for tickets issued on/after 15 November 2019. If the free baggage allowance is exceeded, the standard additional baggage charges will apply. This means that excess baggage may be charged for your sporting equipment.

Dimensions — as long as the additional piece of baggage weighs no more than 23kg with a maximum dimension of 158cm unless specified below. Cycling (200cm – 100cm – 75cm).

Cargo — Sporting equipment larger than 200 cm, canoes, windsurfers, hang-gliders and kayaks will be accepted strictly as cargo and the relevant Cargo rates will apply.

Events — The sporting equipment allowance is available on all SAA operated flights. It excludes our codeshare partners and the following flight series 1000-2999 and 7000-8999. Excess baggage rates may be charged during special events.

MORE ON flysaa.com

How to fly with your bicycle on Air Namibia to or from South Africa
How to fly with your bicycle on Air Namibia to or from South Africa

Air Namibia

Air Namibia accepts any sporting equipment as part of the free checked baggage allowance, provided the criteria below are met:

General — Air Namibia assesses baggage by number of pieces rather than their weight, although weight restrictions do apply. Maximum dimension = length + width + height. A single piece of checked baggage should weigh no more than 32kg (70lb). Any bags weighing more than 32kg (70lb) must be broken down so that each piece weighs less than 32kg (70lb).

Definitions — ‘Bicycle’ is a regular bike (no motor / no e-bike) or a special children’s trolley to use with a bike or a one-wheel bike // and ‘Tandem Bike’ is a a tandem bike with max 2 seats (no motor/ no e-bike).

Dimenions — Business Class: Sporting equipment not exceeding the maximum weight of 32kg (70lb) with a maximum dimension (L + H + W) of 200cm (78in). Economy Class: Sporting equipment not exceeding the maximum weight of 23kg (or 30kg for flights between Africa and Europe) with a maximum dimension (L + H + W) of 200cm (78in).

Excess charges — Any sporting equipment that exceeds the free baggage allowance will be subject to excess baggage rates. Payment is non-refundable. When purchased in advance, specific sports equipment rates might apply; When purchased at the airport, regular excess baggage rates apply.

NOTE: for Sporting Equipment NOT specified above this must be included in free baggage allowance; if exceeding, normal XBAG rate applies.

MORE ON airnamibia.com

How to fly with your bicycle on Emirates: From Dubai, to the World
How to fly with your bicycle on Emirates: From Dubai, to the World


I have first hand experience of the inflexible policies and hefty overweight charges applied by Emirates when flying from Cape Town International Airport. You have been warned (but, admittedly, even with the penalties their ticket price was probably still the best-price international option at the time).

Bicycles — Emirates will accept sporting equipment as checked baggage and part of your standard baggage allowance. If you intend to take a bicycle as checked luggage, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance. Special packaging rules may apply.

Weight Concept — Individual items with total dimensions exceeding 300cm (118 inches) cannot be transported as checked baggage, and must be sent as cargo or freight. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Piece Concept — The total dimensions (length + width + height) of the entire division of sporting equipment must not exceed 300cm (118 inches). Any sporting equipment with total dimensions exceeding 300cm (118 inches ) cannot be transported as checked baggage and must be sent as cargo or freight.

Excess rates — At any time, should your overall baggage weight or number of bags, including sports equipment, exceed the complimentary free baggage allowance, excess baggage rates will apply. Please visit purchase additional baggage allowance for more information.

Adding weight — If the baggage allowance on your ticket is based on weight (known as the weight concept), you can purchase additional kilograms (kg). With the weight concept, you can check in as many bags as you like as long as the total weight does not exceed the maximum weight for your class of travel. Each individual bag must weigh less than 32kg and the total dimensions (length + width + height) of an individual bag should not exceed 300 cm (118 inches).

Buying additional weight before you check in — Get a discount of 50% up to 60% on the check‑in amount if you buy baggage in advance. The more you buy the greater the discount. Discounts are only available up to 4 hours before departure online or at our Retail and Contact Centres. You can buy extra baggage allowance in blocks of 5kgs, up to a maximum of 50kg. For example: If you travel from London to India, you would get a 50% discount on the fee for an extra 5kg, and a 60% discount for an extra 20kg.

MORE ON emirates.com


Air NAMIBIA is nor more 🙁 Defunct Air Namibia owes N$3.5bn to creditors – ch-aviation – the Namibian state-carrier went into voluntary liquidation on March 26, 2021. Poof, and they’re gone. Luckily we got a refund on those plane tickets to Windhoek for the fishing trip to Hentiesbaai… 🙂

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