November 10, 2015

November 10, 2015
Protecting Your Bags from Theft at Baggage Claim

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear is back home raising sponsors for our Teddy Bear Touchdowns for children living with HIV this December and resting up for another busy weekend of events coming up.

Traveling around the world does not come without some dangers. One of those dangers is having your bags stolen after they leave the plane. So today I will blog about protecting your bags from theft at baggage claim.

The travel community was given a stern reminder of how insecure traveling can be for those checking luggage. Itís not just security screeners and baggage handlers that flyers have to be aware of. As it happened in Phoenix, travelers sometimes have to be aware of other travelers as well.

Over 400 million bags get checked to their final destination every year. And though only a small fraction end up getting delayed or stolen, one misstep could mean itís your bag thatís gone forever.

By understanding how to protect your bag from going missing on the carousel, you can make sure your items make it with you on your vacation Ė or on the way back home.

How Baggage Theft Happens at the Carousel

Unlike other forms of baggage theft that happen behind closed doors (in security screening or in transit to and from your destination), thefts at the baggage claim carousel can be much more brazen and open.

In a carousel baggage theft, a thief will grab a bag coming off of the airplane to baggage claim, and walk away as if they own the bag.

Thieves stealing from a baggage carousel can strike in one of two ways. Potential thieves may be the first ones at the luggage claim to look for a bag to steal. As demonstrated by the Phoenix baggage thief, the goal is to get in and get away first, before anyone can identify that their bags are gone without them. Luggage thieves can also work in a crowded flight, or when multiple flights are arriving at the same time. With multiple people looking at the same claim for their bags, it is entirely possible for a thief to pick out a bag, and get away without anyone noticing.

Is designer luggage targeted more often than other bags at the airport? Experts believe that high quality, high cost luggage is often a target for thieves. Would-be thieves equate high quality luggage with expensive goods. Therefore, while they donít know whatís inside the bag, the odds of getting something of value are higher from a designer bag than any other luggage.

Who Is Responsible when Baggage Theft Happens at the Airport?

When luggage theft happens, many people begin looking for someone to assist them. The problem is that before, during, and after your trip, the airlines, airports, and the government are limited in their liability of your luggage.

From the moment your luggage gets checked at the airport, it goes through the hands of a number of different groups and agencies. From security officers, to third-party baggage handlers, and potentially law enforcement officers, a number of people all have their hands on your luggage once it goes through. This means there are a number of possible suspects when it comes to who is responsible for stealing from your luggage.

Airlines have a filed Contract of Carriage that limits their responsibility over your luggage. And while there are some protections built in for the customer in the event of a loss, those protections only extend to the time that the luggage is in their hands.

Are airports responsible for your luggage between the time it comes off the airplane and to the baggage claim? Many airport police departments can complete a theft report for you and investigate your situation, but the primary liability falls on the airlines.

Protecting my Luggage at the Airport

So how can you protect your luggage from walking away with another person when you travel? Experts suggest a number of tips to help you identify your luggage, whether itís rolling on a conveyor belt, or rolling away with another passenger.

Always make your way to baggage claim first

Luggage thieves are criminals of opportunity. One of the biggest opportunities comes in the form of luggage that isnít immediately picked up at baggage claim. Upon landing at your final destination, make sure your first stop is at the baggage claim to pick up luggage. By getting there first, you can make sure you deter thieves away.

Keep basic information on luggage

Some situations arenít luggage theft at all, but a case of mistaken luggage instead. In other cases, having basic information on luggage can help reunite you with your luggage faster. In any event, one of the best ways to identify luggage is with your basic information, such as a name and cell phone number. Basic information can help reunite you with your luggage faster.

Lock your luggage before it gets checked

Although locks are not a failproof method, locked luggage is less likely to get stolen and broken into than unlocked luggage. When picking out a lock, be sure to find one that is TSA approved with either the Safe Skies or Travel Sentry logo on the side. Otherwise, your lock may be destroyed if TSA officers need to get in for an inspection.

Identifying markings for your luggage

Having a visual cue to your luggage can make it easier to find when you get off the plane, making it easy to determine where your bags are at. Items like colored baggage tags or ribbons can make it easier to pick your bags out, wherever they may end up.

By understanding how baggage theft works at airports, you can better protect yourself from being a victim. Prevention during and your trip can make sure you travel on, with a lesser worry of baggage theft.

Hope these tips help you have a safe and great trip the next time you travel. Wishing you a beary safe and great Tuesday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab