Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens now?


After dropping your goods with us, we will arrange to put it on a flight to your home airport of choice. Transit time normally takes 5 to 10 working days but will be confirmed by the Excess Luggage advisor via email. We will endeavour to have your goods arrive on a date that suits you., however, shipments are sometimes delayed due to factors which are entirely out of our control, e.g. customs backlogs, lack of flight availability and off-loading of goods by the airline.

We will process the shipment and email you the airline handling agent's telephone number and flight details, as well as all the documentation you will require for customs clearance at your destination. (Waybill, Inventory, Invoice and Proof of payment)

You then present this documentation, your passport and proof of payment to customs (who will have an office at the airport) to facilitate clearance, after which you collect your goods, usually at the cargo section of the airport. The airline handling agent advisor can inform you of the customs procedures at each specific airport, the exact location of where you can collect your goods, as well as any other queries.


We will arrange for your goods to be collected and then sent with a reputable freight agent, who will facilitate transit, customs clearance and delivery of the shipment to your chosen destination address.

2. What is volumetric weight?

Airlines have 2 restrictions: weight and space. It is standard industry practice to compare the actual weight of a shipment and the volumetric weight, and charge the higher of the two.

Volumetric weight is the space which the goods will occupy and is calculate with the following formula:

{Length (cm) x breadth (cm) x height (cm)} ÷ 5000.

For example; it is due to the volumetric weight factor being applied, that a souvenir wood giraffe weighing only 12kg actual weight can end up being charged for 42kg volumetric weight.

3. Are there any extra charges?

Handling fee - will be charged at point of destination for all shipments. This differs from airport to airport and from airline to airline. There is no way of knowing, at the point of booking, which airline will best suit your requirements, and it is thus impossible to accurately predict the amount for these charges. The airline handling agent advisor at destination can give you an indication and in all cases these charges are minimal.

Storage - is charged, with immediate effect, once your goods get to their destination. It is therefore imperative that the goods are collected on the day of arrival, to avoid incurring additional storage charges. There is no charge for storage whilst your shipment is with Excess Luggage, awaiting shipment.

Customs - if the goods are personal effects, that exceeded your weight allowance, we do not foresee any customs charges. However, many items have customs restrictions or require specific documentation before they can be shipped. You should consult with the Excess Luggage advisor for details.

4. Can I insure my goods?

Excess Luggage, is unable to insure your goods directly, but can be arranged through a registered insurance broker. This is in line with the financial services regulations of South Africa.

The insurers charge a premium of 3.5% of the value of the goods with a minimum premium payable of R200. In the unlikely event of filing a claim, there will be an excess of R500 deducted from the amount that is settled by the insurers.

All claims are to be reported to Excess Luggage within 7 days of collection/receipt of your shipment.

5. How can I package my fragile goods?

For the safe and secure movement of your goods we can arrange for your goods to be crated with a laminated honeycomb craft paper package (see: The cost for your crating requirements can be estimated by the Excess Luggage agent at the time of booking. Crating may alter the volumetric weight, but exact amounts will be confirmed via email before implementing any charges.

6. Can I track my Shipment?

Yes you can. Just log onto or, and enter your Master Airwaybill number (which we will email you). However, we will email you and keep you informed of every movement of your shipment throughout the entire process.

7. Are there any additional requirements for African curios?

African wood crafts, e.g. statues, carvings or picture frames need to be fumigated before leaving South Africa. This is in accordance with the regulations of the International Standard on Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) - guidelines for regulating wood material in international trade. Further details relating to this can be found on the website of the International Plant Protection Convention at: Excess Luggage can arrange this for you at a cost of approximately R300. The exact amount will be confirmed via email before charges are implemented.

Ostrich eggs and animal hides need a clearance certificate from the State Vet, and MUST be obtained from the shop at which the goods are purchased. These goods must also be fumigated before shipment at a cost of approximately R300.

Please note that plant and animal product are restricted commodities in New Zealand or Australia, Europe and the UK. Shipments into Australia are subject to an AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services) inspection and may be held in quarantine on arrival into Australia. See for further information. The client is liable for any charges incurred in this process.

8. Can I still claim my VAT back?

For all vat related queries visit:

Yes, the VAT refund claim can be submitted as a postal refund, and can only be done by you. The following documentation is required:

  1. The original tax invoice from the shop where you bought the goods.
  2. A copy of your passport showing your personal details, entry and exit stamps.
  3. A copy of our invoice for the shipping of the goods.
  4. Documentary proof that the goods were declared for Customs purposes in your home country or in South Africa before leaving.
  5. A copy of the Waybill – issued by us.

These documents can be sent to:

P O Box 107
O. R. Tambo International Airport
1627, South Africa

within 3 months of exporting the goods and the vat refund will be processed for you.