Hope I’m not jinxing myself by exploring this topic – another nightmare associated with air travel nowadays. (As if packed planes, shrinking seats in economy, jerks who recline, paying to check luggage, arrested development cases who moan about in-flight entertainment and limited overhead storage aren’t enough).
A Tank’s Travels reader sent me this link from CNN. Shows dirty, rotten airport staffers helping themselves to stuff in travellers’ suitcases.
The stats are grim. Thirty-one thousand theft claims made in US airports during the last five years. More than 500 TSA employees fired in the US for theft since 2002.
I have to check luggage when I travel. I carry scuba gear that’s too large for a carry on. I always worry when I see the suitcase disappear along the conveyor belt.
I have a well-made Rimowa suitcase with a TSA lock. But, that’s no protection against theft.
I know airport staffers are searching my suitcase because, when I travel through the U.S., I always find a note inside from TSA telling me they’ve inspected it. (see photo)
Other than never checking luggage, or packing nothing except clothes and toiletries, there’s not much travellers can do to protect the contents of their suitcases.
Here’s what needs to happen. Airport authorities have to step up. That means staff screening (criminal record & credit checks) and security cameras in the luggage handling and ramp areas.
Travellers also need to pressure the airlines they patronize to pressure the airport authorities to deal with the problem.
Other solutions? I once read you should insert a note inside your suitcase that reads, “I’ve taken pictures of the contents of this suitcase”, as a deterrent to theft. Hard to measure whether it works or not.
I’ve never had a lost suitcase or had items stolen from a suitcase. I’m betting my luck will someday run out.