Once again, baggage handlers at a major international airport have been caught stealing valuables out of checked luggage.
This time, it was at JFK. Thefts included a $5,000 gold watch and a Sony PlayStation, according to the New York Times, which reported the arrests of seven men for various theft and larceny charges. They were caught by a hidden camera, stealing cash, jewelry, cameras, computers and other valuables.
It’s not that baggage handlers in New York City are more or less honest than baggage handlers elsewhere. So far in 2013, baggage handlers have been arrested in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Paris and even tiny Newcastle, U.K. for helping themselves to your valuables in your checked baggage.
It’s that passengers are simply stupid enough to pack things like $5,000 gold watches and $500 electronics in their checked baggage. That’s just inviting trouble.
Your bags go though screening, whether you do it yourself at the security line, or after you hand off your larger suitcase to the baggage handlers. That screening clearly shows the shape of a camera, iPad, PlayStation, etc.
The only reasons I can think of to put a $5,000 gold into checked baggage is sheer stupidity or if you are trying to smuggle it into a foreign country without paying duty, but I just don’t know whether the owner of that Seiko watch was stupid or smuggling.
Yes, there is an implicit promise that when you hand your luggage over to an airline, that your bags will arrive intact, with all their contents, at the other end. No, that implicit promise should not include $5,000 gold watches. Airline ticket rules usually exclude such valuables from re-imbursement if they go missing, and so do most travel insurance policies.
- Click here to read Travel Insurance 101 article on ecoXplorer
There is one foolproof way to prevent valuables from being stolen our of your checked baggage – don’t put them in your checked baggage.
Other things you should never check and always carry on include these:
- prescription medications – if your bags are delayed, or lost, it could be a life-threatening emergency, especially if you don’t have a copy of the prescription to get it refilled.
- prescription eyeglasses – ditto. I carry a spare pare in my carry-on.
- money and credit cards – that’s too obvious even to explain
- valuable jewelry – ditto
- cameras and electronics – I won’t even check my chargers, because a camera or laptop with a dead battery isn’t much use
Have you ever had anything stolen out of your checked bags?
photo courtesy UPI.com