Ethiopian Airlines, which also operates in Malawi, has banned passengers boarding any of its flights in Nigeria from using sack bags.
The ban which took effect from November 25, 2023 is for flights in Nigeria where the bags are known as ‘Ghana Must Go’.
In a statement, Ethiopia Airlines said the ban was introduced because of “the frequent occurrence of damages to the conveyor belts at various airports, resulting in significant costs incurred by the airlines involved”.
However, the airline said travellers can use the bags if they package the bags in cartons of a hardcover of rectangular size.
According to a BBC report, the sack bags got the name Ghana Must Go in the 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, many of whom were Ghanaian, were expelled from Nigeria and they fled with the red-and-blue checked bags on their backs.
The bags are also popular among travellers across Africa including in Malawi where they are known as sack bags.
According to the BBC, in Kenya they are known as Nigeria bags while Zimbabweans call them Botswana bags.
Ethiopian Airlines is not the first airline to ban the bags. In 2017, KLM and Air France banned the bags saying they could unravel and clog up baggage delivery systems.