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Safety of airport luggage

Exeter, England...
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Safety of airport luggage

There have been warnings on this forum about suitcases being broken into at Vic Falls airport by luggage-handling staff. Is it a good idea to have plastic wrapped around luggage in Johannesburg? Although this might be a deterrent, I am wondering if it would make any potential thief think that I have something worth stealing!

Helsinki, Finland
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1. Re: Safety of airport luggage

Quite a bit of a dilemma but I always opt for the plastic wrapping. JNB airport is actually more notorious for theft from luggage. The best thing is to leave nothing in your checked-in luggage worth stealing - so no electronics or jewelry or anything that might look tempting in an xray. You should also keep other essential things, like medicines, in your hand luggage.

Of course even if you take all these precautions, sometimes it is simply the luck of the draw.

Maryland
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2. Re: Safety of airport luggage

We use special travel twisty ties to close our zipper pulls on our soft sided luggage. We have never used the plastic wrap in all of our overseas travels and didn't have any problem with our checked luggage going through Johannesburg and Livingstone airports.

Pecatonica, Illinois
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3. Re: Safety of airport luggage

We were going on safari from Victoria Falls Zimbabwe and actually left a suitcase with all the gifts and momentos we had purchased at the airport. They remembered us and retrieved our suitcase about a week later. It worked great, but truly, I think it is just luck of the draw. If someone really wants to open your suitcase, you can't really stop them!

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Safety of airport luggage

Ties and locks?...no problem. Take a look at this to see how quickly someone can break into luggage ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf-DGKUNffI ).

New York City
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5. Re: Safety of airport luggage

Hi,

Very nervous about theft. Flying in and out of J-burg a few times during our trip! Can you tell me more about the kinds of "ties" you used. Did you also use a TSA approved lock? more than one? Hope this doesn't ruin my trip.

We each have one soft-sided duffle (24") and my husband has a backpack and I have a mult-compartment travel "tote" bag. Thanks a lot.

Helsinki, Finland
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6. Re: Safety of airport luggage

Even the strongest padlock won't help if you have anything with zippers, as shown in the video posted above. So just don't check in anything you cannot lose and keep your fingers crossed. Not much else can be done unfortunately. I also get extremely nervous about my luggage when passing through Joburg and find it quite appalling that there seems to have been no serious attempt whatsoever to crack down on this notorious problem.

Maryland
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7. Re: Safety of airport luggage

Magellans has an example of the luggage ties that we have used:

magellans.com/store/Luggage___Luggage_Access…

Over the years, we have used different brands, but, this is the one that I found readily for you.

The ties discourage zippers getting caught in transit and tearing the luggage, and the common open and grab theft--but won't deter a serious thief. The ties are simple to use, inexpensive, and allow the security folks to get in without damaging locks or luggage (which has happened to us in the past). You also will know whether someone has been in your bag immediately.

To tell you the truth--with softsided cloth or leather luggage and handbags, a thief can just slash it with a knife. Over the years, have had someone slash a backpack ON MY BACK in Nairobi Kenya at a bus station, and had my mom's purse (worn over her shoulder and across her front) slashed in Sucre Bolivia in a market. Thank goodness the knives didn't cut US!

Best security is to not put anything of value in your checked luggage--regardless of what kind of lock/wrap/tie you use. Luggage can get lost.

Again, we checked our luggage through Johannesburg on this trip (both ways). New softsided backpacks with ties, and no problems. Mine was opened by TSA on the way to Africa (they leave a paper inside my bag letting me know).

If you are worrying about it--get the plastic wrap. But, TSA may still open your luggage up (as they did for me). Less mess and less obvious with the ties.

ex pat in Ct
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8. Re: Safety of airport luggage

Having passed through J'berg on many occasions with similar concerns I try to time my flights so that I have time to reclaim my luggage and recheck it in and not allow it to be in transit - that is when most of the thefts seem to occur. I have to check some high value camera gear because of carry on restrictions (SAA is the worst) so anything leaving J'berg gets wrapped in plastic.

Whatever you do, make sure you have adequate insurance plus a rider for all electronic and photo items.

London
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9. Re: Safety of airport luggage

Hi, I've just read your posting on luggage in J'Burg. We are flying J'Burg (from UK) to Vic Falls. What is there policy on hand luggage, as I have a back pack of photo gear, which I do not want going into the hold for obvious reasons! Are there overhead lockers for such baggage? Many thanks

10. Re: Safety of airport luggage

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