In August I wrote about a ring of thieves stealing from passenger bags in the overhead bin.
There are occasional stories of passengers stealing from others’ carry on bags, usually this happens during long international flights when the cabin is dark and many passengers are asleep.
On Monday’s South African Airways flight SA286 from Johannesburg to Hong Kong several passengers reported being robbed. Their cash and jewelry was taken from bags in the overhead bins.
Copyright: tupungato / 123RF Stock Photo
Two of the passengers reported the theft to crew, and identified suspects who “behaved in a suspicious manner” (hardly credible testimony) and “who were seen opening some overhead compartments while other passengers were sleeping.”
Cabin crew didn’t stop and frisk those fingered as suspects. Instead, when the plane landed in Hong Kong, police boarded the aircraft. Officers were going to search passengers, the thieves left their loot behind. The haul was discovered later sitting on seats in plain view. No one wanted to be searched with stolen goods on their person.
- It isn’t the searches themselves that uncover anything. Earlier in the year a passenger — who happens to be an employee of Apple and wouldn’t need a used iPhone — had his underwear searched by police looking for another passenger’s missing phone.
- Instead it’s the threat of search that mattered here.
United flight attendants have been told to be on the lookout for passengers stealing business class bedding. Stolen watches and jewelry, and the overall security of the cabin (remember, they’re there ‘primarily for your safety’) seems a higher priority.
TSA screeners steal from passengers at checkpoints. Baggage handlers steal from checked bags. oneworld’s head of finance allegedly stole $2.2 million. And a former Miss USA stole noise cancelling headphones. So why not passengers stealing from each others’ carry on bags?