Thursday, July 25, 2013

Travel Woes...

A letter just sent to ACSA--Airport Company of South Africa...

Last week I flew from Lanseria to Cape Town on Thursday and back on Sunday. My experience with your baggage handling was extremely poor.

En route to Cape Town, my checked toiletries bag was opened and presumably searched. The cable ties securing the zippers were not replaced and the zippers came partly open during transit. When I arrived at my destination I discovered that a jar of face cream valued at more than R500 [$50 USD] had been opened and when it was returned to the bag, the lid was not fully secured. It was dumb luck that I was standing on a carpeted surface when I took the jar from the bag and the glass jar came away from the lid and fell to the ground.

When I returned home I found that my other bag had been searched and this time the carelessness of your employees caused a financial loss. I am diabetic and I carry with me a blood glucose monitor that uses testing strips. I carry the monitor with me, but I packed an extra container of test strips in my checked luggage. I put it in a small zipped bag with some make up. When I opened the bag at home I discovered that the lid (which is supposed to be attached to the bottle by a strip of plastic) had been completely torn off the container and the entire contents of the bottle--25 test strips--were scattered around the bag. Not only did your employees destroy the container, their action contaminated test strips and made them unusable.

Now, the R150 that bottle of strips cost is not the real problem...the real problem is that this could have resulted in a life-threatening situation. If I had had to depend on those strips to check my blood glucose in an emergency, I would not have been able to do so because your ham-handed employee damaged them. A crashing diabetic can die...and without those test strips, that is the situation your company can cause one day if your employees do this as a matter of course.

I am not asking for compensation for my loss, but I am asking that you regularly inform--and remind--your employees of the importance of putting things back the way they found them: not breaking or damaging containers, putting lids back on snugly, resecuring bags that were closed with cable ties (surely you can supply your searchers with cable ties so that bags don't come unzipped en route?). I was fortunate enough not to need that extra bottle of test strips, but the next diabetic your employees do this to may not be so fortunate and he could die as a result of not having his medical needs met due to the carelessness of your staff.

Please familiarize your staff with common medical devices such as asthma inhalers and diabetic products such as test strips, insulin pens, needles, lancets and cartridges. The next person who opens his luggage and finds your staff has destroyed an essential medical product may not be so lucky as I was and survive it,