Protect your Bags!

Something to strike fear into the hearts of passengers who check bags in.

Italian authorities 18 months ago, installed hidden cameras at several airports across Italy. Police then viewed over 2,000 hours of footage taken by these cameras. The footage showed Alitalia baggage handlers deliberately picking luggage locks, cutting open suitcases and stealing money, electronics, jewellery and other items.  One employee was taped while attempting to break into a suitcase by stabbing it multiple times.

Take a look:

The Italian National Police arrested 86 Alitalia employees as a result of the footage. The thefts occurred on board Alitalia planes and in areas designated for loading and unloading passenger luggage.

Alitalia stated:  “Our security services have collaborated closely with the policeThe passengers who lost their luggage have been reimbursed. We are the victims hereI have flown Alitalia off and on for 42 years. Last year, I declared Alitalia was one of the worst ten airlines. I stick to that assertion -and this is one example why this is the case.
My question is: How many other airlines will have the situation of their baggage handlers (very low paid staff) handling valuable goods and stealing them?

What can you do to protect yourself?

  1. Buy travel insurance
  2. Don’t check bags in. Reduce the stuff you carry
  3. If you do check bags in, know what is in them
  4. Put things in your check in bag that you can buy or replace easily. Clothes, toothbrush, toiletries etc
  5. Never ever put jewellery, electronics, medicines, credit cards or money in your bag. Never. Carry those on board
  6. Read 5 again
  7. Choose a lock for your luggage that meets security standards so your lock is not cut open by security personnel
  8. I am not convinced about sealing baggage in plastic
  9. keep your carry-on luggage within the limits so you don’t have a bag taken from you at boarding
  10. In case your carry-on may be checked in, have a bag inside a bag which you can take on board with your valuables in it
  11. Bury your wallet, keys and other valuables in your carry-on so someone has to tip your bag upside down to find your stuff
  12. Do not put your carry-on above you but opposite you across the aisle so you can see them
  13. Putting your valuables at your feet may not be as safe as you think
  14. Don’t put your valuables in your seat pocket. Ask your airline how many cell phones are left on planes?!
  15. Before rushing off the plane, take a mental check that you have your wallet, phone, keys, passport with you


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  1. Also, don’t use your Louis Vuitton or designer brand luggage! I’d think Alitalia baggage handlers may have targeted those types of bags (if the luggage itself is expensive, imagine what goodies must be inside!)

  2. I just flew back from Florence (to another location in Europe) and my luggage lock is mysteriously destroyed, like someone stuck something in it to pick it. I can no longer set the numbers as they are permanently stuck. Not alitalia, btw.

    I follow rule #5 religously, so I am only out a lock.

  3. I once waited out a 4 hour delay in JFK chatting with a young uniformed employee. When the jet was finally towed to the gate for boarding the employee explained what her job was. She supervised luggage handling on behalf of the well known Asian airline to protect the passengers from JFK luggage handlers run amok.

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