Luggage, lipstick and liquid

Whether you're travelling domestically or overseas, what you are allowed to take, and it's weight and size can quickly becoming confusing. Here's some insight...


When travelling domestically, you are allotted a maximum of 20kg for economy class and 30kg for business class. If you are travelling with children, they qualify for the same luggage allowance, but infants are only allowed 10kg. There is no enforced rule on the size of the luggage you check in, but it needs to be a sturdy bag or suitcase that locks. When taking hand luggage, the bag needs to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you (expect emergency exits). The sizes of the carry-on baggage vary slightly by carrier and aircraft type and layout. When purchasing new luggage it will always state if it is regulation-size hand luggage.

When travelling internationally the same basic rules apply - 20kg for economy class, 30kg for business class, and 40kg if you are travelling in first class.

If you are travelling from South Africa to the United States and Canada a different concept applies, known as the 'piece concept'. The rules behind the piece concept are for first- and business class. Two pieces of luggage per passenger weighing 32kg (70lb) each and maximum dimensions of 158cm (62 inches). Economy class is two pieces weighing 23kg (50lb) each and maximum dimensions of 158cm (62 inches). If you intend to go shopping in the States, you can benefit from the higher luggage allowance.


For many of us travelling overseas it still is a glamorous occasion, even after a long international flight we like to look our best on landing and going through customs. Bottles of foundation vary in size so try and take a sample with you and keep the bigger bottle sealed in your checked in luggage. Not many cosmetics are more than 100ml. If you don't want to take your entire make up bag with you bear in mind that there is duty free shopping on board.


When travelling domestically there are no restrictions on the size of the bottles allowed in your carry-on luggage.

Travelling internationally there are restrictions. Since 11 September 2001 security regulations have been changed. Any sharp object will be confiscated and the amount of liquid you are allowed to take on board has been severely restricted.

The following measurements are allowed as per international safety regulations:

  • 100ml sealed bottle of gels and lotion, foams, foodstuffs and pastes.
  • Anything bigger than 100ml will be confiscated and you will travel without them.
  • Anything smaller than 100ml is allowed.
  • All liquids need to be placed in a sealable zip lock bag and needs to be able to close (If it's too full and cannot seal it will be confiscated).
  • Larger amounts of prescription liquid medications, baby formula and diabetic glucose treatments must be declared at the checkpoint for additional screening.

The following guidance is provided to ensure the health and welfare of certain air travellers. Permitted items:

  • Baby formula and breast milk if a baby or small child is travelling.
  • All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels and aerosols) including KY jelly, eye drops and saline solution for medical purposes.
  • Liquids including water, juice, liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition.
  • Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products and transplant organs.
  • Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution or other liquids.
  • Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool disability or medically related items used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions.

We suggest you check the airline's website before departing for updates and specific regulations.

For more information on luggage and travelling restrictions visit am AA Acredited Sales Agent store or visit the airline's website.

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