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South African Airways / / theft by staff

1 South Africa

Dear Sir/ Madam,
I trust I find you well!
Sadly I had a very bad experience on one of your flights
On Thursday I had after I missed my original flight at 16:30, rebooked at 18;30.
The flight was SA 363, if I remember correctly.
I had, as always, two bags, being a photographic guide, and fly about 2-3times a month.
The one bag was a photographic backpack, value around R180.000-00, the other a normal day backpack where my laptop and peripherals, a spare camera (R70.000-00) and a few other things where in.
A security guide on the bridge directly at the plane approached me and said I am not allowed to take two bags into the plane.
I told him that I am a frequent flyer and in 10 years I never had a problem. I also referred to the value of the equipment and that it was not allowed to go into the luggage haul of the plane. He said that is not his problem, I only could take one bag.
Rather annoyed I said I would leave the day bag-pack there and take the camera bag into the plane, however I would do this under protest and I would hold him responsible if something is broken!
After I put the camera bag into the overhead storage and found my seat, I went back to the front to retrieve the laptop and the camera. At the same time several people passed and he ignored all of them, even those who had 2 or even more bags with them. I did ask him why he all of a sudden lets all these people into the plane even though most had more than one bag as hand-luggage, some way bigger than mine.
He said it is none of my business and he is busy now with me, so he could not attend to others.
When I ask if this is now a new form of racism, he replied rather aggressive, I better not utter the word racism in this country!!!
I than ask him to let me see his identity card. He refused and instead showed me a batch he kept in his pocket. I took a picture but ask him why I am not allowed to see his card as a batch like the one shown, one can get in a china shop!! The answer was security reasons
I did ask him for the phone nr and name of his superior and tried calling instantly. The nr he provided did not exist! When I told him so, he replied that is the only nr he knows, and the name I would find out there!!
I did ask the on board personal what the problem is, if the plane is overbooked and the two flight attendants present in-front both said they have no idea why he took my bag out, but there is nothing they could do about it.
When I came to my seat I realized I forgot an external hard-drive in the bag.
So I went to the front again, and when I got there, I saw the person fiddling with my bag and closing the front zip.
As the flight was about to leave I quickly retrieved the hard drive from the laptop compartment and returned to my seat.
Getting out of the plane, with my laptop and camera loose under my arm, I did ask the flight personal where I'll get my bag. They informed me it would be at the conveyer.
Getting there, the back-pack was the 3rd bag to come out.
When I checked the bag and wanted to put my laptop and other stuff back, I realized that the two boxes of Lindt chocolate, I bought earlier for my partner, where missing from the front compartment. At closer inspection I also realized that my powerbank was not there anymore.
I tried to report the incident at the airport, but because of the time, all offices where closed.
I reported the issue the next morning via your call centre, but feel this warrants this rather long winding letter!
I find it extremely distasteful, that personnel can, without explanation on a proper reason, decide on a purely mood or personal basis what to allow and what not.
I am even more disturb and disgusted, that the same people take this opportunity to enrich themselves on others property and misuse the trust invested in them.
As said, I am a tour-guide, and have hundreds of overseas clients with me every year. Be assured that this incident of blatant theft will be made known, and I will warn clients of the state of affairs at O.R. Tambo airport, and as I was told the "security" personal was a SAA employee, with your airline in specific!
Also will I lay criminal charge for theft at SAPS!

As said, I am disheartened that this is still something that you do not seem to get under control and has happened
G. Lamberty

South African Airways /

Aug 26, 2018

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