SAA passengers ‘robbed’ during mid-flight snooze

Passengers aboard a South African Airways (SAA) flight, en route from Johannesburg to Hong Kong, were rudely awoken by a mid-air ‘robbery’.

While most South Africans already associate SAA with daylight robbery, as the embattled state owned enterprise continues to fleece the taxpayer’s shallow pockets, the disappearance of personal belongings aboard one of its flights brings the airline into further disrepute.

Hong Kong’s finest called in to solve the case

Mid-flight, between Johannesburg and Hong Kong, passengers awoke from their aeronautic slumber only to discover that their personal belongings, including cash and jewellery, had been sequestered from the overhead compartments.

Times Live reported on the story and interviewed SAA spokesman, Tlali Tlali, who confirmed the incident.

Passengers, irate and slightly confused, approached the flight’s cabin crew, complaining of the missing merchandise. The cabin crew then alerted the relevant authorities.

Once flight SA 286 touched down at its destination on Monday, a contingent of Hong Kong police officers boarded the plane and began snooping around. The no-nonsense law enforcement officials searched the aircraft and some ‘suspicious looking’ passengers.

‘Stolen’ items mysteriously reappear

Hong Kong’s finest search effort yielded underwhelming results. It was only after all passengers had disembarked, that the belongings in question were found resting on cabin seats.

It would seem then, almost through a sheer act of magic, that the jewellery and cash disappeared from the overhead compartments and went for a mid-flight walkabout, ending up on seats spread out across the aircraft.

So, the story has a bittersweet ending; valuable items were reunited with their rightful owners, yet nobody has been held accountable for their disappearance.

Tlali confirmed the dubiously bizarre incident, saying:

“Two passengers approached our crew complaining that they had lost their valuables [money and a watch]. One of the complainants was able to point out a few passengers who had behaved in a suspicious manner in the cabin and who were seen opening some overhead compartments while other passengers were sleeping.

The rest of the passengers disembarked and suspects identified were ordered to remain in the aircraft and were searched by the police in Hong Kong.

Nothing was found [on] them during the search.

The items complained of were however recovered by the cleaning staff as they cleaned the aircraft … and were found on … the seats in the same cabin. The [items] was returned to the complainants.”

Tlali also said that any passenger found to have breached SAA’s conditions of carriage, by nabbing what wasn’t rightfully theirs, would face a lifetime ban. Tlali didn’t, however, mention any regulations relating to valuables which possess the power to disappear and reappear at will. - thesouthafrican