Watch This Video Before You Even THINK About Checking a Bag!

Dozens of Alitalia baggage handlers were caught stealing from passenger luggage once hidden cameras were installed in airplane cargo holds as part of an investigation at half a dozen Italian airports.

Apparently 29 baggage handlers were recorded in the midst of their thefts, and “another 57 people were placed under investigation.”

There were over 2000 hours of recordings made since the investigation began in 2011. And while I get a desire to come up with a comprehensive understanding of the scheme and everyone involved, this suggests that investigators also knew what was going on for quite some time while customer luggage continued to be pilfered from.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I can vouch from experience during my trips to Rome and Venice that the airports are notorious for the pickpockets that troll every concourse scouting for victims of opportunity. For all we know, these handlers may be of the same cut. Don’t expect security to be vigilant either.

  2. Another reason why we cringed when baggage was not loaded on an Alitalia flight in January from Zurich to Rome and was shipped on a later flight and held for days.

    Luckily these bags did not contain high value theft items.

    In another note, on that same trip TSA Philadelphia cut TSA locks from bags. Given what we know about TSA and thefts, that situation was very undesirable.

  3. Actually, I think the story should be, Read Flyertalk before you even THINK of flying Alitalia. Baggage handling aside, has anyone ever had anything nice to say about that airline?

  4. Is it a coincidence that the only time I have ever had anything stolen from my checked luggage was on an Alitalia MXP-SFO flight? More accurately, the entire bag “went missing” and was never found. Thankfully I was able to get a check from Alitalia that more than offset the value of what was stolen.

  5. Alitalia sucks,their lounge sucks,their crew sucks,their food if there are any sucks,its a third world airline.

  6. @Mike their new business class seats aren’t bad, and they are a bit of an anomaly with European carriers in offering double miles awards with additional availability in premium classes, regardless of one’s status in the program.

    But in general I agree, I do not like flying Alitalia.

  7. If they try to do that in Brazil there won’t be enough cameras to capture all the atrocities they do with your luggage there. They got AA, TAM, Gol and other airlines people involved in the scheme. They steal things from the luggage on the transit between the plane and the baggage claim area. Also, if they ask you to check your carry on because it won’t fit in the plane, remember to take ALL your valuable things otherwise they won’t be there when you get the carry on back to you in your destination.

  8. We were bringing missionary supplies to Sao Paulo, and all the valuable things were stolen out of our suitcases.

  9. i can understand the police wanting to gather evidence to implicate and get successful prosecutions of all those committing this selfish crime but surely that time frame should have been curtailed and limited to say a week or less, i can’t think of any reasonable explanation for allowing that to go on, frankly a disgrace, not a winner for Italian tourism

  10. @Mike I’ve not flown AZ long-haul, but intra-Europe, I prefer AZ to AF. Newer, cleaner planes on many routes. I like the service more, too, and the non-Schengen lounge at FCO is better in my experience than a lot of the AF lounges at CDG.

  11. Any country arrogant enough to elect someone like Silvio Berlusconi probably deserves to have a lousy reputation. Fear nor, for I will never spend a single cent or set a single foot in your fascist paradise. Pair-o-dice?

  12. You know, I check bags a LOT. (I have been on the road almost 200 nights in the past year and over 100 nights per year for the past 4 years. I have a bad shoulder and don’t like lifting a rollaboard into the overhead.) I have never had a bag go missing. I had a bag delayed, once, fortunately on my way home and only by a few hours. I’ve never had anything stolen from a bag. I don’t know why people are so paranoid about this.

    Put your name and cell phone number in multiple places inside and outside the bag, and don’t pack anything valuable! If you stick to clothes, toiletries and cheap, easily-replaced electronics (i.e. hair dryer) in checked bags, you don’t have to worry. Carry anything valuable or hard to replace in your carry-on. It’s really not rocket science — just don’t give baggage handlers a chance to steal anything worthwhile!

  13. It’s unfortunate that the handlers’ faces are blurred; I think a little public shaming should be in order.

    Regarding AL service, I’ve read that the J catering is pretty good, and the flat-bed seats—each with direct-aisle access—look to be competitive with the best J seats. According to Alitalia.com, their long-haul J cuisine was voted best in the world in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the readers of Global Traveler magazine.

  14. @Mark as I say i think the new business seats are good… but i would vehemently disagree on the catering

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