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Posted by
11507 posts

We usually check a bag.. and have never had anything stolen.. of course we are not stupid enough to have anything of value in our bags.. I find it hard to feel sorry for people stupid enough to put a 5,000 dollar watch in their luggage ( as per article) or an iPad etc.. come on.. that is Travel 101..

I also do not own designer clothes.. so no risk of them coveting my 20 dollar t shirts.. lol..

I have checked bags for multiple flights over last 35 plus years.. its like anything.. some common sense is needed. And yes.. I do believe their are crooks in jobs that they should not be..anyone working behind the scenes at airports should be at least a high school grad,, should pass all security tests.. and ( and this is a big one) .. should be paid a decent wage.. I think if you are paying someone 10 bucks an hour and have them in a job like this you are looking for trouble.. losing their crummy paying job isn't enough of a risk to them to not indulge their light fingered temptation.

Bottom line. Do NOT pack any valuables in checked bags..

Posted by
368 posts

I agree with pat. I have checked bags and have never had anything stolen. Inspected yes. I put one of Rick's green plastic "locks" on my suitcase. That way I aware if it has been opened because once opened it can't be put back on. But mainly I never take anything on a trip that I would be upset if it were lost. I carry anything I can't afford to lose, medications, and things I don't want to lose, iPod, kindle, camera equip, etc. on the plane with me.

That way if something does happen I am not overly upset, just really inconvenienced.

Posted by
68 posts

I have discovered items stolen from a side pocket of checked luggage twice after arriving in Paris. Both times it was an inexpensive electric shaver. A bit inconvienent. I don't pack the side pocket anymore, at least not with anything I would mind losing.

Posted by
3768 posts

I don't think that it is necessarily stupid to put an expensive item in checked luggage. Expensive can be in the eye of the beholder. I have not put anything in checked luggage that I cannot afford to lose but I have had perfume, cleansers and lotions that were too large to be in carryons missing from my luggage on a couple of flights to and from JFK. The fact that I could afford to lose the items did not reduce my annoyance at having to look for replacement items in a foreign country because the whole reason why I brought them with me was because I have extremely sensitive skin. I have a very intelligent friend who packed an expensive hand bag and work clothes in her checked luggage for a trip and the purse and a couple of her nicer pieces of clothing were gone when she opened her luggage. It was not stupid of her to pack her expensive items in her checked luggage -- her carry-on luggage had her work and personal laptops and confidential work documents that she had to keep secure during her travels. My point is that before making generalizations about how stupid it is to have valuables in checked luggage, we should realize that there could be a number of other factors that led to that decision.

Posted by
1265 posts

On a trip this last May to Charleston, a flask, cigars and a range finder were removed from my golf bag. I reported the missing items to the airline and filed out the necessary paper work and have never heard a word from the airline.

Could these items be replaced, yes. It's just the annoyance factor.

Posted by
15551 posts

Whenever I hear of a high ticket item being taken from checked luggage, the cynic in me asks: "Is it real or is it a fraudulent insurance claim?"

Posted by
300 posts

I put one of Rick's green plastic "locks" on my suitcase. That way I aware if it has been opened because once opened it can't be put back on.

Just be aware that for a bag with a plastic zipper it's trivially easy and quick to open the zipper by jabbing a ballpoint pen into the zipper teeth so they disengage from each other. Once they remove what they might want from the bag they run the two zipper pulls (still locked together) the entire length and it recloses the bag and you're none the wiser until you notice things are missing.

Posted by
20 posts

I used to work for an airline and heard about a lot of stuff. There are a few kinds of thieves ... those that guide their theft with x-rays - tough to beat ... those with a bit more time who open your bags and go through them ... and those who use the pen trick to open a slit and then feel around for anything that feels valuable and re-zip shut

Here are the tricks people would use: (a.) obviously carry-on, (b.) use packing cubes and fill one with tighty-whities - sandwich your smaller spendy stuff there - can foil the lookers, (c.) use cubes a thin cable lock to tie all your cubes together and then to the bag - can foil the pen stabbers because they don't go through the trouble to open cubes.

Here's the bonus tip: a more colorful colleague used to travel to Asia quite a bit. In one of the markets he found a large "personal massager" that had a small compartment in it where he'd keep all his money and small valuables if he had to check. I can tell you that he had his bags opened and few times things stolen like running shoes, but never that.

Posted by
32244 posts

It's generally good advice not to pack valuables in checked luggage, although I have done that on occasion and never had any thefts. That was true again this year when I packed a rather pricey DSLR Lens in my checked bag, and had no problems. A lot of the baggage handling mechanisms are automated these days, which has reduced the amount of times that baggage handlers have access to them.

Posted by
16 posts

Sometimes you don't have a choice but to put an expensive item in your checked bag: tripod, hiking boots, walking sticks or other too big to fit in your carry on.
I also check underwater equipment worth $$$$.
I don't feel stupid or irresponsible just stuck with the down sides of air travel. I put a tsa lock on the inside of the luggage, on each zipper as well as on the outside. I do this to discourage the non security people, in my mind I see this as time consuming barriers for the light fingered people. Of course they can cut the bag on the inside to get to the stuff but I don't think they will spend that much time.
I travel 8-12 times a year, internationally and some USA flights. I have never had anything stolen but if I do, most is insured. Just a bit of peace of mind on my part.

Posted by
19149 posts

Not risking valuables is only one of many reasons to carry-on.

My first reason is just the freedom of having a really light (~11 # bag). (Or is that a requirement to carry on?)

Well, the other thing is ease of movement. Twice I have arrived at DIA, intending to take the airport shuttle bus, which runs hourly, into town. In both cases I went right to the bus which was loading. Had I had to stop to pick up luggage, I would have been an hour later (jet lagged) into town and an hour later getting home.

Posted by
15644 posts

To Peter's point Just be aware that for a bag with a plastic zipper it's trivially easy and quick to open the zipper by jabbing a ballpoint pen into the zipper teeth so they disengage from each other. Once they remove what they might want from the bag they run the two zipper pulls (still locked together) the entire length and it recloses the bag and you're none the wiser until you notice things are missing.

I have used plastic cable ties to "lock" luggage for years. An El Al security agent told me what Peter said. Since then I have used two (or more if needed) cable ties, one to secure the zipper pulls and another to secure that cable tie to the suitcase handle, making it impossible to move the zipper pulls without cutting one of the ties. I began doing this for security reasons, so no one can put an explosive in my bag when it's unattended in storage before a flight, but now I do it as much to prevent theft. At least it discourages the thieves, who are probably going to ignore mine and move on to an easier target.

Posted by
3240 posts

I am a regular checker of my carryon sized bag and in my entire adult life have not had anything stolen. British Air has opened my bag (cranberry sauce does it every time...) and they just leave me a little note. I do not lock my bag. It is all just stuff and doesn't contain any important memories which I might lose. Generally if you have a $5,000 watch in your checked bag that is not valuable to you as it is all relative.