I planned on writing this post yesterday while I waited to collect my new passport at the Department of Home Affairs, but much to my surprise (and any South African who has been to Home Affairs would not believe me) I was in & out within 13 minutes. So I didn’t have time.
I flew back to South Africa 3 days ago with the main reason of getting the travel document. I couldn’t get a flight directly to Johannesburg since they were overbooked & I don’t have ample time to waste so I decided to connect through Windhoek, Namibia.
Everything was fine until I got to the transit area of the airport. I was 1 of 3 transit passengers. The airport is not equipped for international transit passengers so basically we were put in a small room & told to wait. A policewoman arrived & took us through a security check. The gentleman with us who was transiting to Angola was stopped because he had a 150ml aerosol can. This isn’t allowed so the policewoman told him to hand it over. He claimed it was brand new & it would be a waste. She explains again that he can’t take it. He looks at her for a bit, then grabs the deodorant & proceeds to empty the whole can on himself. Once it was empty, he gave it to her. I was standing aside giggling at how ridiculous this was, but I guess he showed her, right?
This is where things got really weird.
I mentioned that the airport is not quite equipped for international transit & I should also mention that the flight I arrived on & the one I departed on were on separate airlines, with separate bookings. Okay, so since I didn’t have my boarding pass, the airport ground staff organized a representative from the airline to meet me in the departure hall. He looked at my passport & my booking confirmation. He then told me he would take my passport to the check in counter, get my boarding pass & bring them back to me. I wasn’t happy about this, but I agreed. I waited for about an hour & then I started to worry. I went to a member of ground staff & asked how long it would take. She was shocked & told me I should never give my passport to anyone else. I got very scared at that point. The panic was short lived though as about 3 minutes later the airline representative came back with my passport & boarding pass & apologized for the wait.
I know better than to give important documents away, but because this was an airline representative, I went through with it. However, next time I will be going through immigration & checking in myself.
As a reminder, never let your passport out of your sight when you’re in another country.
Keep traveling, keep safe.