Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels.
Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels.

Dear airlines, handle our luggage more carefully

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

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DJ Zinhle having her luggage broken into is just one case in thousands. For those who do not know, the South African personality had her luggage broken into during a trip to Durban last week. 

The “Umlilo” hitmaker called the experience “invasive” and did not report the matter as she felt “they (the airline) don’t really care.” DJ Zinhle highlighted a serious issue that travellers face daily. 

When I returned home from an international trip in November, I had the lock on my bag tampered with during a connecting flight home from O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to King Shaka International Airport in Durban. My bag was in perfect condition when I collected it at the Emirates carousel at O.R Tambo. I found no dents and the lock remained intact. 

However, somewhere between that domestic flight back to Durban, someone broke the lock of my bag and left many dents. Too tired to report the issue I let it slide. Thankfully nothing was stolen as my valuables were in my carry-on. 

Checking in 

Airlines staff need to treat our luggage with some respect. I heard rumours that some airline staff open bags to check the contents before being loaded on the plane. 

Some videos on YouTube show baggage handlers throwing bags down a flight of stairs, stealing items and other disturbing videos that may make you reconsider checking in your luggage. 

While one would never know what happens between the check-in process until take off, it's important to safeguard your bag's contents before check-in. 


Tired travellers, unless their luggage is missing, do not want to report damaged bags as the thought of spending time filing reports makes them think twice. When my incident happened, after travelling 24 hours, all I wanted was a hot shower and my bed. 

I wanted to tweet about the experience, but that wouldn't have been fair as I did not report the matter to the airline to investigate. 

Report baggage issues immediately. Take a few minutes to assess your bag once you have collected it at the baggage carousel. Check if there is any damage or if the bag has been tampered with. 

If there are any issues, head to the airline counter to make a complaint. The more issues reported, the better the airline can handle the situation. 

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