Luggage Restriction Tips from AA Travel

The recent announcement by the Airport Company South Africa (ACSA) to implement hand luggage restrictions provoked a mixed response from travellers across the country. The new regulations will be implemented ahead of this year’s 2010 FIFA World CupTM in an attempt to curtail travellers increasing inclination to board with hand luggage that is not meant for an overhead locker.

"The AA fully endorses ACSA’s new regulations to avoid the safety risks that go along with bulky hand luggage," says Geoff Elske, GM of Travel at the AA. Over-packing not only poses the said safety and security risks, but can also delay flight operations. As a last resort unmarked hand luggage is often moved to the cargo hold increasing a security risk of valuable items possibly being stolen.

Although the onus resides with the traveller to ensure that he or she is within the allowable limit, the AA advises that ACSA should prompt domestic airlines to check hand luggage compliance at time of issuing the traveller’s boarding pass.

"It would be best if a designated check area is available, allowing travellers to fit and weigh their bag before check in to ensure that they comply. This would eliminate the possibility of a passenger being denied access with noncompliant hand luggage at the security checkpoint," adds Elske.

"By packing light you also save the unnecessary energy dragging along unwanted kilograms of baggage. It is also a security risk as one needs to keep an eye on more than one bag. Travellers should be responsible and considerate, minimize problems by planning and employing a few packing tactics," Elske concludes.

Here are a few things to consider before packing for the big or small trip:

  • Pack in advance, weigh and measure your bag.
  • No sharp objects are allowed, including nail clippers and scissors, thus be sure to check with your airline regarding its liquid and prohibited goods regulations.
  • Mothers travelling with babies are advised to contact the airline to enquire about liquid and luggage allowances.
  • Make a list of items that you'll include in your hand luggage restricted to valuable items and absolute essentials such as: travel and identification documents, medication, cameras and other electronic equipment.
  • Remove old luggage tags. Some travellers deem this as their 'been there done that' badge, indicating that they are well travelled. This often confuses the bag handler, and can lead to delayed or lost luggage.
  • Put your contact information on the inside and outside of all your bags, including your carry-on luggage in case you are forced to check it in at the last minute.
  • Keep a copy of your destination's address inside the bag as it will help rerouting your luggage if it gets lost.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180

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