Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage (Consolidated) > American Airlines | AAdvantage (Pre-Merger)
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 10, 11, 12:27 am   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 108
AA baggage handlers theft from baggage and trafficking drugs - how widespread?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/10/ny...ted=1&_r=1&hpw

"Testimony at Mr. Bourne’s trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn during September and October revealed a culture of corruption among some baggage handlers at Kennedy. They stowed drugs in secret panels inside planes; stole laptops, lobsters and fine clothing flown as freight; and rifled through passengers’ belongings for perfume, liquor and electronics.

“ ‘Everybody did it.’ That’s a line that a lot of the witnesses said,” recalled Rebecca Grefski, a juror at Mr. Bourne’s trial...

In November 2010, four part-time baggage handlers for American Airlines were arrested on charges of stealing valuables from luggage at Philadelphia International Airport. Detectives working with airline security officials set up surveillance cameras and said they caught the workers taking electronics, cameras and jewelry from passengers’ bags. Three of them pleaded guilty, and the fourth is awaiting trial....

the Transportation Security Administration received about 6,750 reports of property missing from checked baggage...From 2002 to 2010, American Airlines generated more such reports than any other airline...

Yet the testimony in Mr. Bourne’s trial suggested that a serious problem seemed to exist at American Airlines. “What percent of American Airlines employees would you say engaged in this conduct?” a federal prosecutor, Patricia E. Notopoulos, asked Matthew James, a defendant in the case who pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution. “About 80 percent,” Mr. James answered..."

Do you think this problem is widespread and worse at AA than other airlines? What precautions do you take when checking luggage? Maybe I should look into a luggage lock...I've never locked my checked luggage, but I also don't pack any valuables in my checked luggage.
beethovengirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 1:03 am   #2
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: YYZ
Posts: 591
Luggage locks are useless. Half the people on this forum know how to remove items from a locked suitcase without leaving any tracks; what do you think the percentage is amongst baggage handlers?

IMO the only way to safeguard against theft is not to check anything worth stealing.
Coolers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 1:11 am   #3
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,131
Do not travel with valuables
Centurion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 1:12 am   #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: Ralphs Rewards, KCRW Angel, AA EXP
Posts: 3,613
Quote:
Originally Posted by Centurion View Post
Do not travel with valuables
Indeed. Money and a passport are such unnecessary luxuries.
Science Goy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 2:16 am   #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: LAX
Posts: 3,325
While googling to learn about theft from bags in anticipation of a trip to SA (where the problem is said to be even worse) I think I learned that TSA locks in particular were worse than useless because they provided a false sense of security, while in fact those TSA 'master keys' were trivial to create. So start with a non-TSA lock and carry a couple of spares in case they cut one off.

Beyond that, plastic wrap was a frequent suggestion (seldom done in US airports, and not very TSA-friendly), locks that exposed an "I have been opened" flag, but not much really useful. (Immobilizing zipper pulls so that after a zipper breach the perp won't be able to use them to to re-zip and cover his tracks.)
JohnAx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 6:40 am   #6
In Memoriam
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Always on vacation
Programs: aa exp - spg gold - Hyatt Diamond - HH Gold
Posts: 6,010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Science Goy View Post
Indeed. Money and a passport are such unnecessary luxuries.
Than again it is simple to follow the tip instructions provided at aa.com
Quote:
Pack your photo ID, medicine, prescription, cash, keys, jewelry, electronics, film and cameras in your carry-on baggage — not your checked baggage
As to the OPs question I'm not sure but it seems to me thievery is more widespread with TSA employees than AA. A lot more TSA agents have been arrested for theft than baggage handlers from airlines. Would surmise that the defendant used the ploy everyone did it in some miscontrued belief that saying it would somehow make others believe they did nothing wrong.

Knowing that theft is possible when traveling I follow precautions like the aa recommendation no matter what airline it is if it becomes necessary to check luggage.

Last edited by magic111; Dec 10, 11 at 6:50 am..
magic111 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 7:09 am   #7
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: New York City
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, SPG Plat, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,783
Quote:
Originally Posted by magic111 View Post
. A lot more TSA agents have been arrested for theft than baggage handlers from airlines. Would surmise that the defendant used the ploy everyone did it in some miscontrued belief that saying it would somehow make others believe they did nothing wrong.
Um, not if 80% of the AA baggage handlers at JFK were involved. Lets say it is half that amount - 40%. Still, no way are 40% of TSA agents involved in this kind of stuff. And I am the last person to defend the TSA.

What next for AA? AA is the new Eastern
mizzou miles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 7:26 am   #8
In Memoriam
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Always on vacation
Programs: aa exp - spg gold - Hyatt Diamond - HH Gold
Posts: 6,010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mizzou miles View Post
Um, not if 80% of the AA baggage handlers at JFK were involved. Lets say it is half that amount - 40%. Still, no way are 40% of TSA agents involved in this kind of stuff. And I am the last person to defend the TSA.

What next for AA? AA is the new Eastern
You know I did say arrested. This year alone over a dozen TSA have been arrested for theft.
List of TSA agents busted? Make sure to scroll down and check out the map.

I still believe the statement by the defendant was an ill-conceived attempt to justify his actions to the jury. It is the biggest excuse probably used by every child when growing up. Everybody else is doing it
magic111 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 8:09 am   #9
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: AA PLT; UA, DL dribs & drabs
Posts: 1,923
Well before I got into the FF game I had heard that JFK baggage handling was notorious for theft. Sometimes you have no choice but to check a bag, but unfortunately it's asking for trouble to send anything irreplaceable into the maws of the baggage handlers.

I have to carry a fair amount of paperwork in addition to my personal valuables--P&S camera, old iPod, old cell phone... I don't travel with valuable jewelry and I don't rush to update my toys because things do disappear on the road. My paperwork doesn't hold state or corporate secrets but it would be really bad if it disappeared so I hoist it into the overhead.

Any bag I check is an ordinary non-designer beat-up suitcase -- designer luggage like Tumi or Vuitton just screams "steal me." It would be nice if we could trust the integrity of our checked luggage, but it will take a major sea change for that to happen. This insecurity predates the TSA, BTW.
Fornebufox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 8:20 am   #10
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: LAX
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 2,756
I cannot imagine why, in this day and age, anyone in their right mind would put any kind of valuables (laptops!) in checked baggage. If you have something valuable, put it in carryon luggage and take it on board the aircraft with you.

If you have something valuable that cannot be carried on board, then ship it ahead as insured and traceable freight. Get creative with paperwork. Can it be shipped ahead? Scanned into PDFs? Printed out at the destination?

All my electronics go with me on board. My checked bag has only easily-replaced clothing.
QueenOfCoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 9:27 am   #11
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AA LT PLT 2 MM+, BA (very) Blue, CO nobody
Posts: 1,875
Quote:
Originally Posted by Science Goy View Post
Indeed. Money and a passport are such unnecessary luxuries.
You surely don't put either of these in your checked luggage - do you?
If you do, you deserve to be relieved of them
Paulchili is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 10:20 am   #12
Senior Moderator/Moderator: American AAdvantage, Mexico, and Talkboard Topics
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA EXP / 5 MM; HH <>; SPG Gold; Maître-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 40,837
PK, some good comments here, such as not putting valuables in your checked luggage and always carrying them aboard. Some baggage handlers and TSA staffers steal like a hungry jackal and lie like a cheap rug.

But... what do I do with those LOBSTERS?
__________________
"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." - Hilaire Belloc
JDiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 10:23 am   #13
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: STL
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 12,951
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
I cannot imagine why, in this day and age, anyone in their right mind would put any kind of valuables (laptops!) in checked baggage. If you have something valuable, put it in carryon luggage and take it on board the aircraft with you.
I agree 100%, but still we get members posting from time to time about their valuable stuff being stolen from their checked bags. I guess they aren't in their right minds.

And it doesn't really matter to me whether the stealing is being done by TSA or AA employees. Gone is gone.

He who steals from my checked luggage steals trash, to paraphrase Shakespeare.
gemac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 10:47 am   #14
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: LAX
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 2,756
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemac View Post
but still we get members posting from time to time about their valuable stuff being stolen from their checked bags. I guess they aren't in their right minds.
Sure, a crime victim is still a crime victim regardless of their prior actions. No one "asks" to be robbed. If I put my extensive (ha ha) jewelry collection in checked luggage, and it goes missing, I can just blame myself for being dumb.

Be that as it may, there are various simple steps one can take to reduce the chances of becoming a crime victim. Putting valuable possessions in carryon luggage and putting less valuable stuff in checked luggage is one simple step. If that is not possible, shipping valuables to the destination via insured, traceable freight is another.
QueenOfCoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 11, 10:56 am   #15
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Thousand Oaks, Ca., USA
Programs: AA Ex Plat; SPG Plat; MR Plat;Hyatt Plat; HHonors gold
Posts: 3,170
Carry on isn't a choice on regional jets.
beachfan is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 2:19 am.




SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.