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Airport Security in South Africa

Restriction on "LAGS" (Liquids, Aerosols & Gels)

From the 1st June 2007 stricter security measures were instituted at Cape Town International, Durban International and OR Tambo International airports; with the amount of "LAGS" that travelers may take in their hand luggage on international flights being restricted.

Passengers are not allowed to carry LAGS in containers larger than 100ml. LAGS must be packed in a re-sealable, transparent plastic bag, the total capacity of which must not be larger than one litre. Those with baby food, baby formula or medication will be allowed to carry liquids exceeding the 100 millilitres if they show prescriptions from their doctors.

According to ACSA, these changes were effected in order to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards.

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Why the restrictions on LAGS?

A state of terror gripped the United Kingdom when 21 people were arrested for a plot involving the concealment of explosives in hand luggage for detonation on flights bound for the United States. The new safety regulations aim to protect planes against the threat of liquid explosives.

Confiscation of LAGS

On the 1st of June 2007 some 500 litres of Liquids, Aerosols and Gels a day were seized at OR Tambo International, Durban International and Cape Town International. A direct and measurable cost of terrorism. Happily this had reduced to 230 litres a day by mid June 2007. Enviroserv, a waste management company, has benefited from the facted that ACSA has employed them "assist in the safe disposal of all Lag's that have been left behind by passengers travelling abroad. The 6.8 tons of LAGS have been sent to a disposal facility in order to be destroyed in a manner that is ozone-friendly and fully compliant with environmental regulations."

How to travel incognito

Airlines check your ID when you check in to flights. A news24 reader reported that if you don't want your ID checked then wear a veil. According to the reader, none of the major airlines require you to lift your veil in order to check that your ID document matches with your face, and he investigated this at George, Cape Town and Johannesburg Airports.



ACSA don't conduct proper laptop checks

Laptop When passing through airport security at major South African airports you are required to remove your laptop from the laptop bag and let the laptop pass through scanners on their own. Laptops are dense, and they may hide a weapon or contain a bomb, and allowing laptops to pass through on their own allows for a better check as to whether they contains explosives or weapons; and also allows screeners to more easily see what else is in the laptop bag (for example, a knife which is placed below a laptop in a laptop bag may not be picked up by screeners). This intense scrutiny of electronic items dates back to the loss of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, as the result of a bomb hidden in a radio cassette player which was concealed in a suitcase. However, to our concern, we accidentally discovered that it is possible to pass through ACSA security without them requiring that you remove your laptop from its bag (if you carry two laptops they require that you remove the first laptop, but not the second). We accidentally left the laptop in our bag at Cape Town International, and the ACSA security picked it up there...unfortuanately at Johannesburg Airport (OR Tambo) they didn't pick it up (the security lady was yawning and looked tired).

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