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Wilderness Safaris - luggage on transfer flights - help!

Wilderness Safaris - luggage on transfer flights - help!

Old May 27th, 2004, 10:14 AM
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Wilderness Safaris - luggage on transfer flights - help!

All - I am told that only "soft" bags will be permitted on WS transfer flights between lodges. Federal Air said the same thing, but in reality they took people's hard bags. I have Rimowa polycarbonate cases - not exactly hard, not exactly soft...Singita had no problem with these. I am greatly concerned about this as I will be traveling from Madagascar - if I pack using "soft bags" my luggage will be sliced open and pilfered (I'm not being dramatic, I live there, I know what happens) Do you have any advice? How strict are they with this "soft" concept...what exactly does "soft" mean?

Thank you so much!!!
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Old May 27th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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The WS uses small planes with small cargo hatches, thus bags must be stuffed into available space. The bags need to be soft, like heavy canvas.

Can you use hard luggage, then transfer to soft bags nefore the WS flight(s) and stow the hard stuff?

Why not telephone WS and ask - you travel agent can give you their 24 hour number.
Old May 27th, 2004, 10:34 AM
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Let me add two more facts...I tote Rimowa because it is the lightest luggage out there and unbreakable...what you need when you live where I live. It's actually lighter than duffle bags.

Second thing - I've already looked at buying a duffle here...nadda...I won't have time in Joberg before I leave...how serious of an issue is this really? I am not talking about taking a huge sized bag, just one slightly over the size of a normal carryon as my main bag...would still be smaller than the duffles you discuss on the board.

My boyfriend (a pilot who actually used to do these transfers in SA back when he was young) says it shouldn't be a big deal...but I don't know.

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Old May 27th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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I think part of the issue is the weight, as most of the flights between lodges have weight restrictions on luggage due to the size of the plane.

Soft sided duffle bags weigh a lot less than polycarbonate cases, so that would allow you to pack more 'stuff' and be within the weight limit rather than having to leave 'stuff' home due to the weight of the luggage.

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Old May 27th, 2004, 11:30 AM
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Talk with WS - it is a big deal! I've witnessed people being forced to leave things behind, or pay exorbitant fees to have them placed on other flights because they exceeded weight restrictions or their luggage wouldn't fit. It's normally 12.2 kg per person, and that's for everyone's safety! Get serious about this issue right now and talk with WS, and then you'll know what to do. Read the material from your travel agent and take it to heart.
Old May 27th, 2004, 11:34 AM
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Soleil, I think you are being a little dramatic. We traveled to/from Madagascar seven or six times and each time with our Orvis duffle bags. We NEVER had any problem and our duffle bags were never sliced open and pilfered.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 12:21 PM
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I have lived here now for nearly three years. My boyfriend lives in SA. Between the two of us, we fly nearly twice a month. I have had my bags broken into, sliced open, or pilfered four times now. One loss ruins the "it won't happen to me" idea...4 times over really does it for you. I don't call that dramatic. I can give you countless other examples from my resident friends here. I congratulate you though on your success of travel in and out of here without problem, I just hope your record continues.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:28 PM
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Just returned from a WS trip. The cargo is stowed under the plane. It has about 12 inches in height to fit into the cargo hull. If the hard side bag is larger than the opening, your bag will not fit at all.
I was amazed at how small the opening was to fit all the luggage.
With the 12kg (26 lb) limit on the WS trip, we were able to carryon our luggage on the large aircrafts - this would allow you to avoid any pilfering.
Hope this helps.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 11:03 PM
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Call WS. It is not the weight alone, it is whether they can physically squeeze your bag into this tiny compartment at the bottom of the little transfer plane. I have also seen people be forced to leave their luggage behind. People who refuse to follow the written instructions given by WS, who bring duffles with wheels on them (not needed at all), oversized duffles, or hard cases are the pilot's nightmare. Also - your life depends on proper weight distribution in the plane. So the pilot is king and should be. Make his job easier. Also - don't bring valuables to Africa, you won't need them. Hold your camera on your lap.
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