Bags & Bags – Johannesburg, South Africa

Earlier in the year, I wrote about flying home for the first time in a while. I wanted to share an experience I had on my way back & give some advice to help you avoid being in the same situation.

After having 2 weeks at home, it was time for me to go back. I packed my bags & kept valuables in my hand luggage & other items in my checked-in bags – as best as I could. I weighed the checked-in bags & I was underweight – Perfect! I headed to the airport.

Checking in for an international flight is not as quick as it used to be so it took a while for all my documents to be checked & finally my bags were looked at. I know this happens often, but it has been years since my hand luggage has been weighed so I have developed a habit of stuffing as much as possible into the poor bag. It weighed 12kgs & the airline allowed 7kgs. The gentleman working at the check-in counter asked me to remove some stuff & place it in the checked-in bags. I happily complied. Some of the stuff I removed were sweets & treats (Important info for later). I would strongly advise you to follow your airline’s baggage weight restrictions & this is something I will be taking a lot more seriously from now on.

I said goodbye to my parents & then boarded my flight. Everything went smoothly from then onwards, the flight was great & the arrival procedure was so much easier than I expected. I was on this wonderful travel high… and then I got to the baggage belt.

I knew something was wrong when I saw the front compartment on my one bag was open; I never leave that open. So I take my bags off the belt & notice that both have had their locks & zips cut open. I reported this to the airline & then I went to my apartment to see what had actually been stolen. I lost 2 pairs of shoes, fragrances, biltong & those sweets & treats I mentioned earlier. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me flying out of Johannesburg & I am quite certain it happens to dozens of people daily just at that airport. Having said that, I don’t promote negativity & DanVenture Travels is not intended to incite anger. It did happen though & unfortunately, it is a risk you take when traveling by air.

The first thing I would recommend regarding this is making sure there are no valuables or important/sensitive documents in your checked-in bags. Secondly, get your bags wrapped. Most airports offer plastic/saran wrapping for bags, but it can be quite pricey so perhaps buy the plastic at a supermarket & do it yourself.

I sincerely hope this never happens to you & wish you the best of the travel experience.

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Keep traveling, keep safe.
DanVenture Travels

22 thoughts on “Bags & Bags – Johannesburg, South Africa

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  1. I always wondered why people plastic wrap their luggage, but now I understand due to potential theft prior to baggage claim. Knock on wood that I haven’t had stuff stolen from my checked bags, but I’ll be sure to consider plastic wrapping my luggage from now on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I flew with El Al from Johannesburg two years ago and they wrapped the bags once we had checked them in.
    I also had chili powder (last minute airport shopping) removed at a carry-on bag security check before an internal Indian flight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry this happed to you 😦
    Losing shoes and fragrances sucks, that’s a lot of money gone, but taking the sweets? That’s hilariously bad.

    I’ve so far been lucky enough to have never had this happen, but whenever I check bags in I always think it’s really weird everyone’s expected to just hand over all their belongings in an unlocked bag.
    I’ll definitely take on that shrink-wrap advice from now on I think.

    Did your insurance pay out for your losses? I hope you at least got to go for some complementary shoe shopping when you got there!

    Like

  4. That’s a bummer. I really hate disposable plastic – it would kill me to use plastic wrap like that, but I suppose if I had something particularly valuable in my bag, or if I were going to an airport with a higher incidence of this type of theft, I’d definitely consider it. Thanks for the report.

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  5. Hate this happened to you. I have for some reason been skipping checked bags and resorting to carry on a bit more, but will be more mindful of this topic moving forward. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi James,
      The plastic can be cut as well, you are right. The bag is wrapped in layers & layers of plastic so it does take a bit of time to cut through & that extra time required is offputting for the person doing the stealing.

      Like

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