Tips to Prevent Theft and Stolen Luggage in Airports
In the last 10 years, airport security has been greatly increased to prevent terrorist attacks. Yet, while passenger safety increased, about 14,000 unfortunate travelers report an item being stolen every year in the US only. Theft from airport personnel including TSA employees often make the headlines of news outlets.
According to SITA, 21.8 million bags are lost or mishandled by airport staff or airline companies every year (c. 7 per 1000 passengers).
We have selected a few tips to reduce your chance of having items stolen from your luggage, prevent theft at the airport and what to do if you get luggage stolen.
General Advice to prevent luggage theft
It is had already been said numerous times, but never put anything of value in your checked-in luggage. Cash, Laptops, Tablets, Jewelry, Designer clothes or any other item of value should be kept in carry-on luggage. These expensive objects are easily recognized by x-ray scans and could be stolen.
Always keep an eye on your bags at all times, even when going through security checks: items have been stolen even before passengers got on the plane.
Make a list (or take a picture) of all the important items in your luggage: it could be useful to prove that an item has been stolen from your luggage.
Travelling to or from the US? Advice for dealing with the TSA
The Travel Safety Administration (TSA) can open your luggage without you being present. This is why your luggage needs to have a TSA-compliant lock. Many luggage brands already integrate TSA locks; if not the case you can buy a TSA Approved Lock.
There is a higher risk of theft if your luggage gets inspected by a TSA agent, and it is therefore important to reduce the risk that your luggage gets controlled: do not pack large bottles of liquid, aerosol cans or thick books, as they often trigger TSA warnings.
Get safety accessories for your luggage
Laptops are particularly targeted : a study by Absolute Software shows that airports are a prime location for laptot theft, and ranks Atlanta and Miami as the most dangerous airports regarding the number of laptops stolen.
We advise to buy a theft-proof laptop bag as those sold by PacSafe, and protect / backup your data very often to minimize damage in case of theft.
SafeAround has selected the best hardsided luggage from different retailers regarding safety. Here are a few examples, see the complete selection store.
Before you travel abroad, it is advisable to buy a travel insurance program that covers theft of your luggage and personal belongings. There are many travel insurance programs, but SafeAround advises the World Nomads program, which covers all documented items that are less than two year old (one year old for clothes).
These are the cases when the insurance is applicable:
baggage and personal items when stolen
checked-in luggage when lost or damaged by a common carrier
baggage and personal items if lost or damaged in a fire or natural disaster
passport, credit cards and travel documents when stolen, lost or damaged
Therefore, if your bags get stolen you can be compensated. You will need to report the theft to the police and your airline to make sure the compensation goes through.