Theft from Checked BaggageBack to Forum
Yesterday I flew Warsaw – Munich – LHR on Lufthansa in Business. I checked my bag in (a roll bag) and locked it. It’s a hard shell Samsonite with a combination lock.
On getting home, I discovered that it had been opened en route and a block of cigarettes I was bringing for a friend had been taken. Interestingly, the zipper “handles” had been removed from the combination lock but the lock itself was still closed (i.e.it was not set to the combination required to open it). This suggests that it was opened with a TSA key.
I don’t know whether it was broken into a Warsaw, but this is most likely as I checked in 2 hours before the flight, my connection at MUC was only 40 minutes and the bag came off second (and quickly) at LHR. Interestingly, there were two blocks of cigs in the bag but only one was taken (and, indeed, nothing else was stolen).
I guess it shows that even if you lock your bag, most can be opened nowadays with a TSA key. Also, I wonder if the “Priority” labels made it an attractive target.
Edited for spelling and typos7 Nov 2017
This happened to me in Amsterdam Schiphol – delayed flight, checked bag, not locked, my camera was stolen from my bag.
Since then I haven’t put anything of value in my checked bag – which is a pain.8 Nov 2017
Never put anything of value in checked bags,and if you have to because of large size, keep the receipt in your hand luggage and confirm the items when you arrive and before you leave the arrivals hall.
Cigarettes and duty free (liquids purchased before check in have to be in checked bags) you can present evidence perhaps if they go missing, ‘though ofcourse you may have removed them.
With respect though cameras, etc. should be in hand baggage or use very hard locked bags like tv crews do.
The ultimate answer is only your travel insurance.8 Nov 2017
I question if it’s worth locking suitcases. Most are ridiculously easy to open, and that’s without a TSA key. I was taken ‘behind the scenes’ at Jan Smuts (I still prefer to call it that even if others call call it O R Tambo) a couple of years ago and was quite surprised at some of the things I was told – and that is after a career in the airline industry!
Locking only draws attention to the fact that there may be valuables inside, even if there shouldn’t be, and makes a target. I also think that expensive branded suitcases become a target, for which reason I tend to buy much cheaper but serviceable makes and even if they don’t last as long, I’m still scoring as they cost a fraction of Samsonite, Rimowa, Briggs and Riley, etc.8 Nov 2017
When I forget my combo lock, it takes my boys less than a minute to open the case. At many airports you can now have your case wrapped in plastic for about EUR 10. Or you can invest in a big roll of industrial clingfilm and wrap it yourself at home. It’s a bit fiddly but once you get the hang of it takes about 2 – 3 minutes.8 Nov 2017
I don’t want to sound smarmy but I’m amazed that anyone would put anything of value into checked bags – I never have, even once, since my first flight. I carry it all on board.
Years ago on TV they showed a documentary where 2 airport baggage handlers were filmed after being challenged to open locked bags. They had them ALL open within just a few seconds: it was something to see.
I also use scruffy, old, cheap, unlocked checkin bags. I recommend it.8 Nov 2017
By the way, SimonRowberry, I’ve just realized my last post might look like a dig at you – it certainly is not, and I’m sorry if it unintentionally looks that way. I’m very sorry to hear you lost your block of cigarettes.
On a side note my wife sometimes puts valuable stuff in checkin luggage…8 Nov 2017
GivingupBA – I never took it that was so don’t worry, mate.
I agree – I would never risk anything of value in my baggage. A block of smokes was a £35.00 quid loss – irritating but not a massive deal.
What does get me it this. I’m also a semi-pro musician in a band that does tours in Europe. We use “backlines” provided by the promoters so don’t have to take amps, drums etc with us,but none of us would risk checking in guitars worth many thousands of pounds each. This is a fear of theft, not damage – they are all housed in heavy-duty flight cases. The result is that one of us has to drive to wherever we’re playing in Europe, rather than us all fly. This ends up actually costing us money.
Another irritant due to the fear of theft.
And by the way – very few airlines today will allow you to buy a separate seat for an instrument. Checking in as “Mr F.Stratocaster” or “Mr G.Les Paul” no longer seems permitted….8 Nov 2017
I also never put anything of value in my case,(apart from smokes!) I do lock it however but the lock gets tucked in a flap that is not visable unless you go looking for it. As flippant as it sounds i treat the possibility of theft from my luggage on the same level as the airline losing the case or wrecking it, its one of the downsides of travel9 Nov 2017
A timely topic; I am off to Thailand soon flying direct in F but I am taking an Ipad pro as a xmas present. It is sealed in the original packing so I am assuming I will not be allowed to take this in my hand luggage as I will not be able to demonstrate that I can turn it on. My annual travel insurance will now allow me to pay a premium for a high value item so I think my best option is to follow LP’s advice and get the back wrapped in plastic (assuming the service is available in LHR T2).9 Nov 2017
Derek : I can’t remember the last time I was asked to turn on a device to make sure it was genuine.
Last year I travelled with a brand new laptop sealed in its packaging, as hand baggage. I asked the security people who said they would scan it and as long as it didn’t show any indication to cause concern, they’d let me through with it. All was fine.
However, I wouldn’t want you to take that as ‘gospel’ and have a problem.9 Nov 2017
Ipad batteries are not allowed in checked baggage so best to hand carry it and trust you don’t have to open it.
I think only US bound flights have to prove it operates ok ‘though ask for the latest advice.
It was probably shipped by aircraft already,however air freight has different rules.9 Nov 2017
On the back of DerekVH’s post here’s something else to consider.
My hand luggage was taken off me due to others execxes and placed in the hold !
At the other end, I’m reunited with my bag, minus a camera loaded with priceless memories.
Went and got my police report, complained to the airline and claimed on my insurance. My first ever claim.
Alas, because I wasn’t personally in possession of the camera at the time of the criminal act I wasn’t entitled to my claim. It seems that as soon as you trustingly handover your possessions to the airline, insurance companies deem you as being reckless and careless!9 Nov 2017
Derek, I really don’t think you have to worry about being asked to turn the iPad on. In all my flights, East, West, US, Europe, (and I travel with 2 Samsung Tabs, an iPad and 3 phones) I’ve never once been asked to turn on my Tab/phone/Laptop and nor have any of my family.9 Nov 2017