Contributors to this thread:
Baggage Theft Rampant in South Africa
Although they are only quoting one airline, baggage theft seems to be a very big problem across all airlines in the major airports like Tambo in South Africa. While you can't carry-on your bow, I try to put everything of significant value in my carry-on when I fly there. I would never check-in optics, cameras and the like (not to mention they are often not included in damage coverage offered by airlines when in your checked bags).
According to the attached article FlySafair is a South African low caliber airline that is experiencing the problem. I am wondering if the major airlines are experiencing the same issue? I did not experience this problem in Sept 2018, nor did I did hear any complaints from other hunters I was around experiencing this problem.
I know the year that RSA hosted the World Cup Soccer that baggage theft was a real issue and there was a black market theft ring running between Asia and RSA.
I also know that Tambo cleaned out a lot of the "rift raft" that was hanging around in the airport and pestering customers.
That airline was shutdown last year for several weeks due to safety issues. Stay with the big name carriers, keep your optics and electronics in your carry on, and use a travel agency. All these will help.
I spent a few hours with a PH from Africa this weekend and asked him about baggage theft issue. He said it is uncommon but highly recommended shrink wrapping luggage to deter any thief.
I've flown through Jo Berg four times, and have heard all the horror stories about baggage theft- they're true if you're foolish enough to have soft sided, zippered bags. To combat this, the first time I flew through Jo Berg, I first went to my neighborhood Salvation Army Thrift Store and bought the grungiest looking hard sided Samsonite suitcase for $8.00. I then went to Home Depot and bought a hasp set for $1.89 for two. I went home, ripped out the liner and ripped out the divider. I then drilled holes to accommodate the hasps and secured from the inside with sturdy bolts. I Crazy Glued the bolts so that they could not be loosened from the outside. No self respecting South African thief is going to even look once at this grungy suitcase to try to tamper with it. My third and fourth trips through Jo Berg I decided to just carry on my stuff in my Red Oxx bag, and I used camp rifles when I arrive at my destination in Namibia. I leave in May for my fifth trip to Namibia, and will go the Red Oxx carry on route again.
This is another in a long line of half truths. Nearly 40 trips thru Johannesburg and never, ever any theft or issues and in 25 years of business never had anything stolen or tampered with in any client’s luggage.
Check your bows through in a SKB hard case, there is no option on that. Toss one set of hunting clothes, shirt, undies and pants in with your bows. Take another set of hunting clothes, sandals for evenings at the fire, cell phone, binocs, rangefinder, shave kit, and camera in a small carry on. Wear jeans, shirt, light jacket, and hunt boots on the plane. Done it three times, zero issues.
Its not just the airport.... RSA is full of crime and murder. Life is very cheap there. Eyes wide open when you go.
I’ve been three times. May go again. All three times i wenton safari, I hired a service that met me as I got off the plane. They assisted me in getting baggage (bows), got me through customs very fast. Then they got me to the hotel in the airport, on one trip and to the van that took me to a place for the evening the other two trips. I think it’s money well spent for safety and to cut through the BS in getting through the airport. The firm I used was called Air 2000. Believe it cost $175 or so. If two or more are traveling together the cost is less per person.
I must be part of the one-half of the half-truth. I've been to Africa four times, but only South Africa once, and that was the only time my luggage was pilfered. I put most of my valuables in my carry-on, but at some point, something had to go in my checked baggage. I had my luggage "secured" with TSA approved locks, but it doesn't take much to break them. I had quite a lot stolen and it sucked. I spent a few hours reporting and documenting the theft (including airline police), and when I got state side, I wrote British Air a letter (although it was a SA airline that the theft happened, I learned that it's the airline of origin that's responsible). To British Air's credit, that sent me a check that fully covered my stolen items.