Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Airlines says it’s is currently overwhelmed and having challenges in carrying passenger baggage from Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Airline says as a result, there have been delays in delivering check-in baggage for all passengers on board.
In a press statement issued on December 6, the airline says there is a “temporary delay of passenger baggage” because most travelers are returning for the festive season and have a lot of luggage.
The statement stems from passengers complaining about the airline mishandling their baggage in the past weeks. “That is not our intention and we regret the inconvenience caused,” part of the statement reads.
It explains that there is increased demand for travel out of South Africa due to the coming holidays and had resulted in “overcapacity on the route.”
Management however says it is “working round the clock to mitigate the effects with the support of our partners in the industry to alleviate this challenge.”
In the meantime, the airline says all affected passengers will be contacted as soon as their baggage arrives in the country.
Each passenger is allowed to carry a piece of hand luggage weighing a maximum of 7 kilograms and two pieces of check-in baggage weighing a total of 23 kilograms. However, one is also allowed to have two extra pieces of baggage at a total cost of 125 US Dollars. Those with only one extra piece of baggage pay 50 US Dollars.
The hand luggage is placed in the overhead bin inside the aircraft while check-in baggage of passengers on board is expected to be loaded in the underbelly of the aircraft.
However, Uganda Airlines has been struggling to load all check-in baggage for passengers on board because it has to also carry baggage left behind on previous flights.
When our reporter visited the airline’s offices in Kampala on Monday morning, there were ten people waiting to be attended to. Of these, five people had come to pick their baggage while the rest had flight related issues such as inquiries, bookings, payment and rescheduling.
Two of the people who picked their baggage say they had waited for a week to receive the bags.
One said he arrived on November 26, but was disappointed after learning that three of his bags had not been brought to Entebbe International Airport.
“The airline called me on Saturday saying my bags have been brought and that I would pick them up in Kampala,” the passenger said.
The second passenger arrived on November 30. He says two of his four bags were missing at Entebbe airport.
“But I can’t blame the airline because most people have shopped for the festive season.”
Sarah Bireete, the Executive Director Center for Constitutional Governance, who also arrived on November 30 is not amused. She says the aircraft did not carry her two check-in bags.
Bireete told our reporter that the bags were finally delivered to Entebbe on Friday.
She was however told to return to the airport to clear with customs.
Most of the affected passengers say they boarded Uganda Airlines because of its direct flights from Johannesburg and affordable rates for return tickets that range between 370 US Dollars to 520 US Dollars compared to Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways that have non-direct flights and charge over 450 US Dollars.