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.

Use #DanVentureTravels on your Instagram posts so I can follow your adventures. Follow the DanVenture Travels Facebook page for other travel content.

Keep traveling, keep safe.
DanVenture Travels


23 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!


  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.


  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.


    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.


  6. Beautiful story! Thanks for the travel tips. Do you have a link to your travel experience in Nigeria? I see that Nigeria is among the places you have visited. I am very curious to read that one. Thanks

    P.S. Sorry for the loss and mishaps of your bag zip, sweets and treats. I am also looking forward to reading your story about Sweets and Treats! Dan, you rock!!


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