Johannesburg Airport Bans Irregular Shaped Bags / Luggage

MARCH 29, 2019 UPDATE: 


As to light aircraft transfers for safari guests most most of the air taxi services remain unable to take bags with spines, push-in handles, wheels, or hard framed suitcases. If a travelers bag does not meet the new Johannesburg Airport requirements guests will need to have it wrapped in plastic at one of the many bag wrapping station in the Johannesburg Airport – regardless of onward destination. There is a fee for this service.


As of March 25, 2019:

New rules for checking in bags of irregular shape and size have come into effect at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport from today, Monday, March 25, 2019. 


Effective today, March 25, 2019 only regular-shaped bags will be allowed at check-in counters. 


Bags must have at least one flat surface to be accepted on the check-in system.


Round or irregular-shaped bags will not be allowed at check-in counters.


Bags with longs straps will not be allowed at check-in counters.


Due to strict safari luggage limitations travelers are required to bring soft sided luggage, typically duffel bags without any framing, for their light aircraft transfers whilst on safari… these bags often do not have a flat bottom and they have straps. We are busy checking with our industry partners on the ground in Africa and at the Johannesburg Airport to learn more about these new requirements and will update this blog post as information comes in.


Passengers trying to check-in bags that do not conform to these rules will be offered the option of having their baggage wrapped with one flat side at the airport approved baggage wrapping stations.


The new rules are aimed at preventing blockages and breakdowns in the baggage handling system caused by bags that do not have any flat surfaces or that have long straps or grips as per the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines. The new rules have been agreed to after extensive consultations with the Airline Operators Committee (AOC) and other bodies representing airlines.


Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

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