Do airlines have a baggage theft problem with their employees?
Late last month, a CBS affiliate in New York published a scathing tell-all about baggage theft at JFK airport.
Featured in the report was one Long Island woman that had $160,000 in jewellery swiped from her suitcase after it’d been checked.
“There are no cameras in the baggage once it’s in the plane,” she said. “Once they took my overnight into the plane that’s where they took all the jewellery.”
Since the report, lawmakers are all ruffled in the U.S., and some are demanding a few radical changes to how checked bags are monitored in the airline biz.
According to law enforcement services that spoke to CBS, more than 200 bags are stolen by airline workers everyday, and that’s just at JFK.
*Bing: What to do if your luggage doesn’t show up at its destination
Already, New York Sen. Charles Schumer has demanded the FAA install security cameras in the cargo hold of airplanes, where much of baggage theft by employees takes place.
But even that’s not enough: “I think there should be some undercover agents in the belly of the plane,” Schumer added.
Certainly, this is drastic, but it is warranted?
Theft is so bad, some airline sources speculate, that often when outfits say your bag has been lost in transit, in fact it’s been burgled by an on-the-ground worker.
“If they reported a bag stolen every time a bag went missing you would probably have to set up a precinct at certain airlines,” said one former NYPD detective.
Added a lawyer representing the Long Island woman that lost her jewellery: “The belly of the airplane has become like a flea market for airline employees. They go through all the luggage unencumbered, unchecked.”
The CBS report goes on to detail just what background checks are needed to get a baggage handling job at JFK. Workers must have no felony convictions within the previous ten years, but officials note that if charges are plead to, diminishing them from the felony level, criminals can easily find work handling luggage.
Do you think cameras or undercover agents should patrol baggage theft? If it increased airfares, would you be willing to pay extra to know your luggage is being monitored?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: Flyer-Man | Apr 5, 2021 9:44:45 AM
This actually doesn't surprise me in the least. Over the years, passengers are not allowed to lock their baggage in many parts of the country or with many airlines due to security reasons that are vague or secret. Due to staff shortages and desperation to keep the planes off the ground efficiently, they are hiring almost anyone from almost any country and probably not checking them thoroughly enough.
They should "Hire" a few people in some areas but actually these people are undercover agents or something from either police, FBI or FAA. They can stay there a while and eventually they will catch someone who they can use to weed out the rest. If not, it will get worse before it gets better.
Posted by: Mike | Apr 5, 2021 2:37:00 PM
This is easy to handle...start by not publicizing it, let them get comfortable.
Mark down every piece of luggage that was stolen...take note of everyone that had access to the luggage, even if it was 30 people.
If the theft is as rampant as they claim, statistics will quickly prove who is responsible for the theft, then you go in and catch them in the act and crucify them publically
Posted by: Terri | Apr 6, 2021 8:38:17 AM
My first thought was why did the not take the jewellry with her? Who in their right mind would leave that amount of jewellry out of their eyesight....
Posted by: TJM | Apr 6, 2021 8:37:13 PM
I had a camera and camcorder stolen from my checked in bag at Trudeau airport in Montreal 6 years ago. 2 years later, a sting operation nabbed a number of baggage handlers from that airport who had ties to the mob. This sort of story doesn't surprise me but I have to ask the obvious, why on earth would you check in something so valuable? That woman gets no sympathy from me for being so stupid.
Posted by: Rob | Apr 7, 2021 12:53:40 AM
Course my first question is why place personal valuables in checked luggage though regional small flights suggest you place hand luggage when boarding a plane but a Dash 7 hold is not such you can browse and open.
The new rules especailly in the States suggest you not lock your luggage but I always use the TSA approved locks and pass a string tie thru the lock zipper. My rule is this bag requires time to open and mosty thiefs will not send time trying to open
Posted by: Dale | Apr 7, 2021 7:44:10 AM
I travelled through Montreal on a business trip coming back from Europe about 8 years ago. When i arrived in Toronto my bags were not in. I was told I needed to wait 2 hours for the next flight to arrive. When it did it looked it was opened by a box cutter and all the contents were missing. The air line made it so difficult to file a claim I ended up giving up.
Posted by: Margaret | Apr 7, 2021 8:22:52 AM
I now always shop at Charity Shops for clothing to go abroad with and then keep them for my next trip, even shopping at Charity Shops abroad to bring back with me. I once lost my baggage in Singapore, which arrived the next day. and had to wear my husbands shirts. I had my Tilley Hat in the lost luggage and went through a harrowing time that I had lost it for good. I now take it in my hand luggage along with everything else I deem valuable to me. All gold jewellery is left at home along with my expensive camera, unfortunately as I bought it especially for trips abroad.
What happened to Dave was a disgrace, please publish the Airline and I'll boycott them unless they have a gigantic seat sale.
Posted by: Terry Selzler | Apr 7, 2021 9:56:21 AM
It is time to do a complete overhaul of the airline industry. There are no rights, guarrantees, or piece of mind for any airline travellers now. This industry has not one iot a of respect for the paying passenger. Delays, no food, no sevice from flight attendants, too long to board a plane, paying for every bag now, even carry ons. I heard they will start charging for use of the toilets. so then people will pee in their seats. Soon they will charge you to board the plane like getting on public transit. There are pat downs, scans, strip searches, no shoes and no water allowed. Next the public will have to board naked so we will have all male flights and all female flights. Uncomfortable seats to cram in just a few more passengers each year. Let's just all stand up the whole flight like in transit buses or subway cars. Better yet let's just boycott the whole travel industry for one year. I mean no one leaves town unless we drive our own cars.
Posted by: Dan | Apr 7, 2021 10:07:54 AM
why are these people not checked better when they are hired and who does the hireing would be a good place to start signed some one who knowes
Posted by: Dan | Apr 7, 2021 10:11:42 AM
it might be advisable to have cameras who look at baggage door when bieng loaded and cams on plane they have the power why not use it cams are cheap to purchas
Posted by: Debbie | Apr 7, 2021 10:51:02 AM
I realize theft happens everywhere and internal theft is one of the biggest problem that companies suffer from but did anyone investigate this woman and make sure she is not trying to do an insurance scam for her jewerlly because who in their right mind would not of taken that on their carry on.
Posted by: Paul Ertl | Apr 7, 2021 12:08:32 PM
When i (72years) go on trips the luggage contains only Laundry, fresh / used ( good luck thief)
valuables are in my carry on.
Also we pack sandwiches. At least they still give you water and coffee and tomato juice. i order
all three. I find stewardesses quite nice and polite . (Air canada i am satisfied)
Posted by: Matt | Apr 7, 2021 2:51:31 PM
What a lot of people dont realise it that baggage handling services are usually contracted out to other companies. Not many airlines handle their own baggage. Airlines dont have controll what these contracted companies hire....
Posted by: Mandy | Apr 7, 2021 3:46:15 PM
While it was not smart to check luggage with $160,000 worth of jewellery, that is not the problem. The problem is someone stole it. It would not take a lot of resources to install security cameras. Without them, it is nothing more than an honour system, which has proven ineffective repeatedly. It is time to interrogate the criminal and not the victim as to why they did not better protect themselves.
Posted by: george bushy | Apr 7, 2021 4:07:20 PM
Airline industry is a disgrace to the country because they are too busy for basic customer service. The airline companies should be hit with law suites to get their act together. Unfortunately justice delayed is justice denied.
Posted by: Lindsay | Apr 7, 2021 4:53:45 PM
"Missing Luggage" is a MYTH.
The only ones handling our luggage once we check it are supposed to be bonded employees, so if anything including the luggage is missing, it is not really missing, staff have stolen it, or damaged and hidden it! We pay to get our luggage on the plane with us so why should we pay extra to have it guarded. The staff steal it, let the staff take a pay cut to cover the cost of keeping them from stealing from us. If every airline employee had to take a pay cut to cover the "missing" costs I'm sure the honest employees would bitch. There are more honest employees working for the airlines than there are liars and thieves, aren't there? Hmmmmmm????? Maybe it should just be made law that the airlines give us what we pay for, good service, decent travel experience, and return to us upon deplaning the same property we gave them when we checked in and boarded. Of course the staff has more time to steal from us now that we have to be at the airport and check our bags so early.
Posted by: Susan | Apr 7, 2021 6:17:34 PM
I came home from Mexico in February to find I was missing a baseball cap from my checked luggage. Cost-wise, it isn't a big deal, but the fact that there are people employed to look after my luggage and see it safely to its destination, use their jobs as an opportunity to do some personal shopping, I find to be a little more than disconcerting. Hope you enjoy my Blue Bomber cap whoever you are, thank you for the education.
Posted by: krishi | Apr 7, 2021 7:07:52 PM
Only one time I lost my suitcase and it arrived with everything in it. I always carry my valuable with me. There should be cameras everywhere and also think about easy money from insurance as well. Not all the employees at all the airports are thieves and not all who says that their contents were stolen; telling us the truth.