Rough Landing for Travellers



Chrispin Inambao

The ineptitude of regional carrier, South African Airways, in as far as mounting statistics on the luggage it ‘losses’ for air-travellers booked on its flights has reached alarming proportions and it is high time SAA awakens from its slumber.

Whatever line its spin-doctors would cast forth would simply not convince anyone because it is as obvious as Jacob Zuma’s ascendancy to the coveted political job that SAA has deadwood in its ranks. It is high time they punish the incompetent and hire someone visionary in that crucial but seemingly highly neglected department.

It seems affected passengers have indirectly condoned this by largely suffering in silence without speaking out and SAA seems to have taken advantage of this silence. They say silence is golden but I urge those affected to speak out and expose this evil more so considering 2010 is around the corner.

As I recently fell victim to this Mickey Mouse stuff, this piece should not be misconstrued as something written out of utter bitterness but to expose growing ineptitude at SAA.

To make matters all the worse in my case, I discovered after I finally retrieved my luggage that some uncouth baggage handler had looted one of my two ‘missing’ bags dispossessing me of valuable photographic equipment and newly acquired possessions.

When I arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek on Tuesday, there were 30 or so other travellers who had to lodge complaints about missing luggage and I eyed a mountain of suitcases and travelling bags waiting to be collected by their owners. I was told later that on a single SAA flight from South Africa, 60 such lost items had to be transported.

And now the amount of luggage recovered by SAA, some of it partly looted and others totally emptied by these highly-organised gangs of thieves in the ranks of SAA as was reported on the popular investigative TV programme, Carte Blanche.

One needs not be an aviation expert to see that as in South African politics following the recent Zunami, SAA should consider outsourcing its luggage section to low-budget but highly popular carriers such as 1Time and Kulula Express or even to Air Namibia.

And it seems passengers are in for a long haul as SAA instead of addressing this problem hands-on has sealed a deal with a private contractor to deliver the recovered luggage door-to-door and I was reliably told this guy delivers two truckloads in a day.

Apart from being illegally dispossessed of my goods by an unknown small-time-crook masquerading as an SAA mampara, one of my pieces of luggage was damaged.

Credit should be given where it is due and I would like to use this opportunity to commend the crew handling claims for luggage lost on SAA flights for a job well done and for handling my case in a highly professional manner.

And I hope the powers that be at SAA would not overlook them for promotion hopefully next time it fires the incompetents in its ranks at the Oliver Tambo International Airport.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here