While SAA has proven itself an absolute horror show time and time again, and continues to bring shame upon us, South African airports, on the other hand, have been doing relatively well for themselves in the news lately.
The International Airports of Johannesburg (OR Tambo), Durban (King Shaka) and Cape Town (We Don’t Talk About This One Because It’s A Touchy Subject) have all been named among the best airports in the world, according to the 2019 Skytrax World Airport Awards.
Air travellers voted Cape Town International the Best Airport in Africa – yes, the entire Africa – for the fourth year running. King Shaka International came in at 29th and OR Tambo at 33rd.
Durban’s King Shaka also won the 2019 award for Best Regional Airport in the whole of Africa and the award for Best Airport Staff in Africa, serving between 5 and 10 million passengers.
The Skytrax award is determined by measuring customer satisfaction across airports globally, and this year, was based on 13.73 million global passenger opinion survey entries.
In the entire world, Cape Town ranked as the 22nd best airport, followed by King Shaka at 29th and OR Tambo at 33rd.
The top five airports in the world were, in order:
1. Singapore Changi;
2. Tokyo Haneda;
3. Seoul Incheon;
4. Doha Hamad, and;
5. Hong Kong.
But, this isn’t the only bit of South African airport news to emerge this week. Let’s take a look at what’s happening over at OR Tambo.
At the end of March, many of us may have been too busy packing our emergency zombie apocalypse go-bags by load-shedding candlelight to have heard this story, but OR Tambo International introduced a couple of stringent new baggage rules.
Your luggage now has to follow a certain set of criteria in order to be checked in. Namely:
• Only regular-shaped bags will be permitted at check-in counters;
• By regular-shaped, they mean that bags must have at least one flat surface;
• Round bags and, presumably, bags shaped like human bodies, will not be allowed at the check-in counter, and;
• Bags with unnecessarily long straps will not be permitted either.
The reason for this, according to BusinessTech, is because irregular bags are the biggest source of baggage jams, often wreaking havoc on the baggage sections of the system and inconveniencing everybody on the plane.
Similar rules have recently been implemented in Dubai International Airport, and GM of OR Tambo, Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana, says that passengers don’t need to worry about being turned away.
Until everybody is aware of the new rules, the airport will offer passengers carrying ‘irregular’ baggage (such as rounded duffel bags) the option of having their bag wrapped to give it at least one flat surface. This service will be available at approved wrapping stations for a fee of under R100.
Round bags aren’t the only things that aren’t allowed on a plane. During the festive season last year, Pityi-Vokwana also stated that, in their experience, passengers aren’t generally aware of (or forget) which items they may or may not bring onto a flight. There is a long list of items that are not permitted in luggage, hand luggage or on their person.
Some of the most commonly confiscated items at OR Tambo International include some surprises, such as live ammunition, shuriken (ninja stars), bow and arrows, toy snakes, toy spiders, toy insects, any sporting balls such as soccer balls, rugby balls – inflated or deflated – and inflated balloons.
The top six most confiscated items of all time are:
1. Blades and razors;
4. Golf equipment, and;
5. Knives, forks and scissors;
6. Nail files and nail clippers.
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