Flights from South Africa to Ireland (Baggage and allowances)


Flights from South Africa to Ireland (Baggage and allowances) Immigration Information for South Africans moving to, immigrating to, working in and visiting the Republic of Ireland, Immigration Information for South Africans moving to Ireland

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  • There are no direct flights from SA to Ireland.
  • All airlines will fly via another country.
  • Most flights will fly to Dublin.
  • You can arrange flights from the other country to Cork or Shannon.
  • There are no flights from Dublin to Cork.

 Airlines from SA- UK- Ireland

Many flights will go via the UK, however, please note any South African only passport holder will need to be in possession of a FULL UK STANDARD VISITOR visa if you fly from UK to Ireland.

Even though you are inside the airport, you actually pass through an international terminal into a domestic terminal and are therefore considered inside the UK.

This does not apply if YOU hold a UK/Irish or EU passport, but if for example your spouse or child does not hold a UK/Irish or EU passport THEY will need a UK Standard visitor visa.

*Note During Covid this means you are very likely to go into Mandatory Hotel Quarantine in the UK as you are entering the UK, there is no transit through the UK from South Africa on the way to Ireland.

Frequently asked questions

Northern Ireland

Q.1 Will an Irish visa allow me to travel to Northern Ireland?

No. If you wish to travel to Northern Ireland, you will require a UK visa.

Northern Ireland consists of Counties Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.

If you are travelling to the Republic of Ireland, and you intend to also visit Northern Ireland and return to the Republic, you must obtain a multiple-entry Irish visa and a UK visa.

If your main destination is Northern Ireland but you arrive in, and depart from the Republic of Ireland, you must first obtain a UK visa, and then a multi-entry Irish visa. INIS


   UK Standard Visitor Visa

   Virgin Atlantic

   British Airways

   South African airways

Please note during Covid-19, a 14 day quarantine applies when you arrive in Ireland. Please see this link for VITAL info:   Covid-19 updates

Order of events: booking flights and quarantine
  1. book flights THEN
  2. book hotel quarantine
Why? Because flights do not fly every day of the week. So you could end up having an extremely long layover waiting to get to Ireland from your interim country, and possibly have issues with the quaratine hotel. Make sure your flight dates match first then book the hotel quarantine. Also the Mandatory Quarantine hotel wants the flight info at booking.
Also note: NOT ALL AIRLINES ARE FLYING DURING COVID- call the airline to be certain, do NOT just book online!!! Check!!!

 Airlines from SA- another country- Ireland

Airlines that can fly South Africa to Dublin via another country (not UK) whereby you will not need a visitor visa unless you plan to leave the airport and enter that country. Generally, you will stay within the international (airside) part of the airport and therefore not need visa for South African passport holders. Be very careful when you book, some of these flights MAY still go via the UK. Check the stops very carefully


   Ethiopian Airlines

   Turkish Airlines

   Air France and KLM co-share flights so you may be on a plane from either airline



   Kenyan Airlines

A note on One-way or return flights

As entry into Ireland is as the discretion of Border Management Unit (BMU), and some people may not be granted entry (be that for many reasons), the return of that passenger to their home country is in the hands of the airline. The airline at check-in will decide if you need a return leg and this could be enforced at check-in, or they may call ahead to BMU and ask if you are likely to be returned or if you entry seems legit.

  • If you feel you and your family have righful entry and have all the paperwork you need to prove your entry as legit, and if your purpose for arrival is immigration or if you are in possession of a work permit, then a 1-way flight may be sufficient.
  • If you feel that there is an outside chance you may be declined entry as your paperwork is incomplete or complicated, or if your purpose for entry is holiday, then you really need to get a return ticket.

The choice is completely yours. If you choose a return ticket, then make certain the type of ticket your buy is a refundable, some tickets cannot get a refund if cancelled. also, check the prices of each leg of the journey, you may find a difference between each leg of the journey in price and therefore refund may not be 50% of the ticket. If you have any queries speak to the airline directly and find out their policies on one-way flights and return tickets and cancellation of the return leg should you not use that return leg.





We recommend at least 3-4 hours before departure so that luggage and

potential pre-clearance calls to Dublin Border Management Unit can be made,

if the Check-in desk desides to do so!

When you are at the airport in South Africa, at the check in desk, show ALL passports, SA and EU/Irish/British. The airline may or may not call through to Dublin for a pre-clearance check before allowing you on the flight. Anywhere that flights land and a switch of planes occurs, this pre-clearance can be done again by the airline. Make certain you have ALL documentation with you at check-in to ensure an easier flying experience and rather be over-prepared and have all the documents, than not have that 1 thing and not be allowed boarding.

Border Management Unit (BMU): When flying into Ireland, this is the department that will be in charge of granting you permission to enter on the day you arrive. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Baggage allowance and Excess baggage

Make sure you check the size(dimensions: height, length and depth of the bag), weight and type of bag you can use with your airline. Outsized or overweight bags can be charged for and this can be extremely expensive. Most airlines allow you to book overweight or extra baggage in advance at a discount. The airport also can have a say in the size and weight of your bags and extra luggage because the normal process is that your luggage travels along conveyor belts through the airport to the plane. Where outsized or mishapen bags matter is that they can break themselves or damage the conveyor systems so it may have to carried manually.

You may choose to wrap your bags to add extra security to your bags. Bag wrapping HERE

Always put locks on your bags and do not put valuables like jewellry, phones, laptops and cameras in your check-in luggage.

ACSA advice HERE

OR Tambo airport HERE

King Shaka airport HERE

Cape Town airport HERE

Some people do fly with "Pep" bags (soft bags usually made of plastic woven material that is extremely light) instead of standard  travel suitcases because its lighter than a suitcase. This is because people believe you can pack more for the weight allowance. If you do use "Pep" bags, make certain you line it with a stiff cardboard to ensure it has flat sides, many people buy the Large ones and then buy W9 boxes from Westpak and cut the box to fit or cardboard from old cardboard boxes. OR Tambo airport reported a few years ago that they would no longer accept mishapen bags. Be sure to check with your airline or the airport to see if these bags are accepted. People have flown with them since this announcement without issue, however we cannot guarantee this will always be the case. Mishapen bags HERE and HERE


Things like chidlren's carseats or prams may be considered extra baggage or may be included in the ticket price. Check with the airline!

Music and sports equipment may be considered extra baggage or may be included in the ticket price. Check with the airline!

This information was taken off the various websites so that you can have an easy comparison between the airlines. HOWEVER the information can change at any time, so please open the link and check the info is correct at the time you are reading this.

   Virgin Atlantic baggage allowance 

  • 1 x 23kg in Economy
  • Dimensions 90 x 75 x 43cm 
  • Excess baggage HERE

   British Airways baggage allowance

  • 1 x 23kg in Economy
  • Dimensions 90 x 75 x 43cm
  • Excess baggage HERE

   South African airways baggage allowance

  • 1 x 23kg in Economy
  • Dimensions not to exceed 158cm The maximum sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Excess baggage HERE

   Emirates baggage allowance

  • 2 x 23kg in Economy
  • Dimensions not to exceed 150cm The maximum sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Excess baggage HERE

    Ethiopian Airlines baggage allowance

  •  2 x 23kg in Economy
  • Dimensions not to exceed 158cm The maximum sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Excess baggage HERE

    Turkish Airlines baggage allowance

  • 1 x 30kg in Economy
  • Dimensions not to exceed 158cm The maximum sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Excess baggage HERE

    Air France and KLM co-share flights so you may be on a plane from either airline

  • 1 x 23kg in Economy Light, Economy Flex and Economy Standard 2 x 23kg KLM HERE and Air France
  • Dimensions not to exceed 158cm The maximum sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Excess baggage HERE and HERE


  • Number x Weight depends on type of Economy ticket: HERE
  • Dimensions not to exceed width 72 cm, height 90 cm and depth 45 cm
  • Excess baggage HERE


  • 1 x 30kg in Economy
  • Dimensions not to exceed 300cm The maximum sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Excess baggage HERE

    Kenyan Airlines

  • 2 x 23kg in Economy
  • Dimensions not to exceed 158cm The maximum sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Excess baggage HERE

   What should I or can I bring with me to Ireland? - A guide on shipping goods to Ireland and what you should bring or leave, and on Customs when you fly into Ireland and what you can or can't bring with you



Some people have never flown out of SA and an inbox from a first time flyer has lead me to give a little clarity on what happens. No harm reading again as often people get the various stages confused or name them incorrectly.

  • First you encounter Check-in at your airline. Here they will ask for your passports (show ALL passports including EU passports for all members and all your SA passports). Show your EU/Irish/British and SA because you need to make sure you all get on that flight for the correct reasons... moving to Ireland. If you are a work permit holder, show the work permit, if you're joining someone show that proof. do NOT say you're going on holiday if you're not going on holiday... if you're movng to Ireland you're moving. If you're holiday'ing you say holiday. YOu will be given a card which is your boarding card with your seat number and most times the boarding gate number and time for boarding. If the card does not have these, don't panic, the TV screen all over the airport will display this info. You need to keepp the card safe for boarding the plane.
  • They will ask your reasons for travel, check your passports, (at the moment check for Covid compliance) check your paperwork, they can if they choose to call through to Dublin or Cork for a pre-clearance before allowing you to go further, so you MAY sit and wait while they do their checks.
  • They will check your size and weight luggage and security protcols about packing the contents
  • Then you go through security into the airport itself. here you remove your clothes and stand naked.... hehehe ... i was tempted to freak the new flyer out and just leave it there.... ok so you remove, belts, laptops, phones, sometimes watches, anything that will make their security scanners beep and squeak. Some people have been asked for covid negative tests here in the last month, some have not been asked at all. hence the query about "do I need a covid test"... its SA... who knows when there will or wont be someone asking again?
  • Then you go through passport control. This is where the SA Border official checks your passports. This is where all SA born people and anyone who is a SA citizen needs to show their SA passport.
  • Sit and wait in Duty-free or the lounges, go to your boarding gate.
  • At the boarding gate they check your boarding card, sometimes they ask for your passport again, throw out liquids, and check your carry on luggage etc is safe for the flight.
  • Get your seat and enjoy the flight. Make sure any money and passports are safely near you at all times. Theft has been known to happen in flight
  • Landing in the in-between country you disembark, you may or may not encounter security again, you may or may not have to check-in again, depends on the airline/country/terminal/ length of layover if you have a boarding card or not for the next flight... go with the flow and be prepared to be checked again as to your motives for flying and you can be asked for all the previous check-in info you did in SA.
  • You are unlikely to collect your luggage 99.99999% of the time it gets sent to Ireland directly (unless it is the UK where you cross over from international terminal to Domestic clearing through customs, sometimes they transfer your luggage sometimes they dont, just check).
  • Fly to Ireland
  • Land in Ireland
  • First you encounter Passport control. This is called BMU (Border Management Unit) in Ireland. This is where all your paperwork is checked and the legitimacy of your entry is approved or declined.
  • we want to hear reason for coming to Ireland, show paperwork, banter, smiles, STAMP STAMP STAMP... and your loud SIGH of relief as you told to walk on through.
  • we DO NOT want to hear... sit over there, wait here, go to that room... this is an ill-prepared flyer who has not got their documents in order, or is not able to enter at this point
  • You collect your luggage
  • You choose RED OR GREEN channel for Customs where they check your bags for restricted or prohibited items like smokes, biltong and booze.


Important links: 


   #MapMyMove- Our coaching Service - confused or lost and need some direction?

   Visiting Ireland - As South Africa is a non-visa required country what documents do I need to enter Ireland on holiday?

   Letter of Invitation - For family joining you later in Ireland/ Coming on Holiday/ Job Interview

   Entry in to Ireland - To enter in to Ireland, what documents do I need and how does it work?

   Documents for Ireland - A list of recommended documents to arrange before leaving South Africa

   Paperwork at your fingertips - Links to forms needed in Ireland, that you may want to review whilst still in South Africa

   Checklist of things to do before you move - We have produced a unique checklist of things to make sure you have done before leaving South Africa

   Summary of the EU Directive (EU Treaty) - For EU Treaty members, a summary of the Directive highlighting the important parts, this is often needed on leaving SA airports where they may ask for a visa

   Home Affairs Documents - Home Affairs documents and what is the difference between Abridged/Unabridged/Full and Vault?

   Home Affairs Agents and Contacts - A list of contacts and agents who deal with Home Affairs documents

   What can I bring to Ireland? - A guide on shipping goods to Ireland and what you should bring or leave, and on Customs when you fly into Ireland and what you can or can't bring with you

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