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Airport baggage theft and more: A guide to surviving airline travel in SA

1 July 2019 10:19 AM
If you've ever fallen victim to airline baggage theft, this guide for surviving airline travel in South Africa is a must-read.

Good to know with Wendy Knowler is a monthly consumer podcast series that gives subscribers insights into the most common mistakes made by consumers in South Africa. If you are in the market for a car, planning your wedding or wondering how to change your travel plans – this series will have something for you. Subscribe so that you don't miss out on the series, here.

In this episode, Wendy Knowler talks about surviving domestic air travel in South Africa, making it on-board with your carry-on and, the best methods for stashing your designer perfume so that it doesn't get stolen.

Here are 6 things you need to know in order to survive airline travel in South Africa:

1. Airport baggage theft is a real thing

When it comes to airports and especially, OR Tambo airport, most people know not to pack expensive items such as perfume, electronics and jewellery in check-in baggage but people are still falling victim to the sticky fingers of airport employees.

Wendy suggests that you insure your valuables with your own insurer.

Get into the habit, as you're about to close your case you're intending to check-in, just take photos... then you have a record of what it is that you've packed, for claiming purposes.

Wendy Knowler

Read: This is the most frequently stolen item from OR Tambo airport luggage

2. Olive oil is not permitted on the aircraft

While most of us weren't aware of this rule, the reason behind the airlines' ban on olive oil (or any kind of edible and non-edible oil) is quite a reasonable one. Olive oil bottles can break and it could cause damage to passengers' baggage.

Oil has the propensity to damage but importantly, it can become flammable.

Wendy Knowler

3. Can an airline prohibit you from taking your own wine on board?

The Civil Aviation Authority's regulations don't mention acceptable quantities of on-board alcohol and they're actually silent on whether passengers may board with and drink their own alcohol. However, the passenger intoxication and unruly behaviour should be dealt with by the airline.

4. Toy snakes are a big no-go item

While it might sound laughable, many South African possess a real and intense fear of snakes. If passengers were to mistake the toy for a real snake, it could cause panic on the plane.

5. Carry-on bags can be confiscated

In many cases, your bag will be taken away even if it conforms to the airline's size regulations.

Not fair. I've actually, on occasion, marched back to where I've left my case and, whipped it back and said that there's plenty of space on-board.

Wendy Knowler

6. Always choose the queue with the least amount of men

If you're late and, find yourself in the rush to get onto the plane – Wendy suggests that you choose the queue with the fewest men in it. Unlike women who carry everything in their handbags, men tend to stash their valuables into their pockets and, this means that it could take a while for them to find everything in different pockets.

Got an idea that you think would make a great podcast? Send an email to with Good to know with Wendy Knowler in the subject line followed by your podcast pitch.

For more consumer-related stories, tune in or visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler on Afternoons with Pippa Hudson, Wednesdays between 13.00 – 14.00 on Cape Talk.

Knowler Knows Consumer Talk on The Azania Mosaka Show, weekdays between 13:00 – 15:00 on 702.

1 July 2019 10:19 AM

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