Luggage Restrictions

Old Sep 26th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Luggage Restrictions

My Husband and I are leaving for Africa next week, and I will be doing all of our packing this weekend....
We have been told that our luggage restriction will be query is this:
Is the 20kg inclusive of our carry on luggage, or just the checked luggage?
We fly South African Air to and from Johannesburg from Australia, and then fly with British Airways whilst in Africa (going to Nairobi and Victoria Falls)....
Thank you all in advance, Mia
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 03:58 AM
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The 20Kg is for your checked luggage - Australia/JNB, JNB/VFA, JNB/NBO.

You can have separate carryon for your cameraS, meds and other items that you can't afford to loose or have delayed in arriving at any destination. But most airlines have limits on size and weight of these bags... usually no larger than a 22" bag and 15/LBS.

However, re your main checked bag - if once in-country you will be flying small planes,i.e., around Kenya, then your checked bag is limited to 15/KG (33/LBS) preferably in a soft-sides duffle-type bag w/o wheels. These bags get squished into the small holds under the planes. You can still have a carryon for camera equipment which will sit on your lap or floor between your feet. Few of these small planes have overhead bins.

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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 04:29 AM
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just a note re the hand luggage/camera equipment. On some 20 seater planes we used in Zambia recently, pax with hand luggage that wouldn't fit under seat in front or in the small overhead lockers were told to put their bags in the hold. This was being monitored at the aircraft steps. They could retrieve their bags on landing and didn't have to wait for these bags to be delivered with the other luggage but many weren't too happy.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 05:34 AM
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We are in the final stages of planning our East Africa trip for July 2008. We are really looking forward to it. I have been an avid reader of this forum and really apprecaite everypne's earnest comments. It is my understanding that the 15kg weight limit for domestic flights is for the total weight of checked luggage AND carry-ons.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 06:01 AM
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In East Africa, technically the 15Kg is for everything - checked and carryon. However, unless your carryon (usually containing your camera equip) is oversized and appears to be heavy, it will not be included in your weight allowance.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Uh, oh, here we go again. The great Wheels vs. No Wheels controversy.

In dozens of messages on a thread on the subject last year, there was not a single case of someone being denied being able to stow their wheeled duffle. I was so concerned about our xfers by air in Zambia I contacted the camps directly. No problem having wheels, they said.

Soft sided duffle, yes, for the reasons stated above. The cargo doors on small planes are small and luggage might require a bit of squishing to get through them. It's more the height of the bag that's the issue, not the thickness or the length.

So, by all means, if you want to lug around 45 pounds on your shoulder through airports, do so, but it's your choice, not mandatory.

I cannot imagine going back to the old days without wheels.


Leaving for Zambia in three days. Yippee!


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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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I don't think Mia is taking any light aircraft flights

For South African Airways and BA/Comair, the 20kg allowance is not inclusive of hand baggage.

The hand baggage allowance on BA/Comair is technically 7kg, but our carry-ons were not weighed when we flew ex-CPT and ex-WDH this month (scroll down to Comair)

I quickly looked through the South African Airways site but could find what their hand luggage allowance is, only mention of the new liquid restrictions in place at South African airports.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 08:25 AM
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I meant to say "could not find".
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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If you've got 45/lbs you're already overweight. As far as lugging around bags... have never had to on any trip to or in Africa. The Sky cap takes my bag from sidewalk into terminal in the States and that's the last I see of it till deplaning in Africa. Here only 1 lift onto a baggage cart to driver... then that's it. Then in reverse on the way home. No wheels is suggested as these and handles can be damaged or broken loading and unloading from these small planes. I've seen many and I'm sure there have been plenty I haven't seen.

Each country has their own rules as to weight and then the individual situations at their airports, whether carts available or not. And, I've had friend tell stories, especially in the Delta, where they've seen overweight and wheeled not get on those planes with their passengers.

The duffle w/o wheels is only for my African trips. Elsewhere it's w/wheels where weight isn't as much an issue or small plan baggage compartments and possible damage.

Believe me, I don't lug anywhere

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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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We took all of our luggage as hand luggage on South African Airways and had no problems.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 12:57 PM
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Unfortunately, I have seen people denied boarding or having to leave their luggage behind when they had bags which were not entirely soft-sided. This has happened in Botswana and South Africa and there was a close call in Namibia as well).

If you're lucky and you're the only person on a Caravan, it won't matter how much stuff you have. But if you're not (and this is impossible to predict) and you have excess and/or oversized luggage you may find yourself in a tight spot. It's up to you whether you think the risk is worth it.

NB Even if an oversize bag makes it on the likelihood of damage is higher -- when the pilot tries to cram the bag into the compartment things like zips do get caught and break off. I've seen the zips fly off when someone was trying to pull an oversized bag out of a cargo compartment.

As Jim noted, height is often the most important dimension. One of the people whose bag was left behind was a woman who had a large wheeled duffle with a rigid plastic 12-inch-square bottom end -- the compartment was only 10 inches tall so there was no way it was going to fit. So if you must get something wheeled go for something with minimal plastic.

In the end, it's up to the pilot's discretion as to whether or not to accept your luggage. If there is a problem with fitting things into the luggage pod the wheeled bags (because they have some rigid parts where the wheels are located which take up space) are often the first ones to go.

Personally, I think that anything other than a completely soft-sided bag is a risk. Yes, it is a royal pain to lug them through the airport (doing this does remind you why it's called 'luggage') but at least IMO it's better than having your luggage left or having to pay extra for it to be put on a separate flight. And it certainly provides an incentive to pack light!

The other thing to remember is that you really don't need a lot of luggage given that the camps do laundry on a daily basis (unless you are on a mobile where arrangements may be somewhat different) and that things like lotion, shampoo, etc are normally supplied (in Southern Africa -- this is more variable in East Africa). 20kg is usually more than enough when you take that into account.

Interestingly, I've never encountered the situation of being asked not to bring stuff onboard unless it fits under the seat in front of you -- the seats on the small planes in Botswana are so close to the floor that no one's bags would fit under them. I've always been able to hold my camera bag on my lap (thankfully!).

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