Alert! From this Saturday, South African Airways will begin shrink-wrapping the baggage of its passengers who travel through Johannesburg International Airport. The first wrapping machines – which can spin a web of plastic around a suitcase faster than you can say “Bilbo Baggins” – will be installed in the airline’s domestic terminal first, with its international terminal coming online by 15 July.
“No airline has done away with baggage pilferage, but we will reduce and minimise it,” said Vishnu Naicker, the airline’s chief risk officer, yesterday. Johannesburg Airport has been plagued with theft out of baggage in transit for some years now – just ask Murphy – although Your Correspondent has never personally been a victim, and suspects that many of the stories doing the rounds are pure urban myth.
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It’s not known whether, if a customer doesn’t want the hassle of cutting through his or her suitcase to get to the pyjamas inside, there’s a chance to opt-out of the wrapping process at SAA’s check-in. Just be sure to watch extra sharply for your luggage when its on the carousel – now they’re bound to all look alike!