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April 04, 2021

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



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...