You won't believe how many security personnel Comair has watching your bag

2014-02-12 15:31
Johannesburg - Travellers armed with cellphones and tablet devices have opened up an entirely new realm of what gets shared and exposed in the world of travel.

After a YouTube video surfaced showing what looked like a BidAir staff member mishandling a bag while loading it onto a British Airways (operated by Comair) aircraft - readers have responded with an outpouring of complaints concerning baggage security.

Watch the Video here
Comair has since confirmed that "the person who attended to the bag is the contracted security officer for BidAir, who took the bag from the security officer and took it to the forward hold to avoid the bag from reopening".

The airline said no evidence of any criminal activity had been found and nothing was reported stolen from any luggage on the flight. 

Read Comair's full response here

The also airline said in a statement that there is no denying baggage mishandling is a global industry problem.

"Comair average of 0.45 mishandled bags per 1000 bags"

“Owing to the stringent baggage management process Comair has in place for its British Airways and kulula airlines, it continues to perform better than the global and local industry average with only 0.45 mishandled bags per 1000 bags carried," said Iain Meaker, Comair’s Executive Manager for Commercial Distribution.

"IATA average of 8.85 mishandled bags per 1000 bags"

"IATA (International Air Transport Association) has recorded an average mishandled bag rate of 8.85 per 1000 bags, and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) recently reported a 9.5 average per 1000 bags, showing that Comair ‘s average is much better than the industry standard,” Meaker said.

Comair stated it is working with various third party handling suppliers and staff to reduce baggage mishandling.

According to the security information supplied by the airline, Comair has a minimum of six sets of eyeballs watching your bags from the plane to the luggage carousel and vice versa, as detailed below.

This includes four contracted security guards who watch the baggage handlers, a contracted security supervisor who oversees the security guards and baggage handlers and finally a Risk Control officer who is also the go-to guy should a dispute end up in dismissal or court case.

Take a look at the details of the full security procedure supplied by Comair below - and then tell us what you think about it by emailing

When offloading baggage from an aircraft:

As the bags arrive there is a security officer at the parking bay who observes the offloading of baggage. All open, damaged bags are recorded on a flight control sheet. Opened or damaged bags are required to be closed/taped on the tarmac in plain view and not in the hold or in the baggage wagon.  Once offloading is completed, all baggage handlers are thoroughly searched before leaving the parking bay.

A security officer is posted to monitor the offloading of baggage from the baggage wagons onto the arrival belts. All damaged/open bags get reported and documented.

Two contract security officers man the departure baggage make-up area to record and secure all open/damage bags. Incidents are all properly documented.

When loading baggage onto an aircraft:

A contract security officer is allocated at the parking bay to search all baggage handlers before loading commences, and to observe the loading of the bags from the baggage wagon into the aircraft. Space permitting the security officer will get into the aircraft hold to monitor loading.

All open, damaged bags are recorded on a flight control sheet. Any opened/ damaged bags are to be closed/taped on the tarmac in plain view and not in the hold or baggage wagon. All necessary paperwork is to be completed.

Once loading is complete, all baggage handlers are searched before leaving the parking bay.
Additional security procedures:
•    A contract security supervisor conducts site visits and observes and ensures that the security officers are in line with standard operating procedures.
•    Risk Control Officers do random stops and searches at the passenger area around the aircraft, in the parking bay, on the arrival belt, and in the departure area.
•    Risk Control Officers respond to any complaints received via the Airport Management Centre (AMC) or Lost property (LPO) regarding pilferage reported, and conduct thorough searches and interview all parties involved.
•    Risk Control Officers attend and testify in criminal court cases and CCMA matters when dismissals or court cases originate from investigations and searches conducted.
•    Risk Control Officers handle complaints from airlines relating to items left on board and search and interview all involved.

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Read more on:    comair  |  cape town  |  south africa  |  aviation  |  travel south africa  |  flights

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