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A Mid-Flight Stealing Spree Results Requires Police Intervention

A Mid-Flight Stealing Spree Results Requires Police Intervention
Jackie Reddy

Passengers on a recent South African Airways flight reported to cabin crew that their belongings had been stolen during the course of the journey from Johannesburg to Hong Kong. Flight crew contacted local police, who searched the plane upon arrival. The goods were recovered and suspects released.

A South African Airways flight was searched upon landing in Hong Kong after a number of passengers claimed that their belongings had been stolen from the plane’s overhead bin compartments while they slept, TravelMole reports.

The alleged thefts took place onboard South African Airways Flight 286 last week. Tlali Tlali, a spokesperson for the airline, offered comment on the incident to South Africa’s TimesLIVE outlet, saying that during the course of the flight from Johannesburg, “two passengers approached our crew complaining that they had lost their valuables (money and a watch).”

“One of the complainants was able to point out a few passengers who had behaved in a suspicious manner in the cabin and who were seen opening some overhead compartments while other passengers were sleeping,” Tlali added.

The flight’s crew made contact with authorities on the ground in Hong Kong and local police then entered the craft upon landing. Further explaining the situation, Tlali said, “The rest of the passengers disembarked and suspects identified were ordered to remain in the aircraft and were searched by the police in Hong Kong.”

The suspects, Tlali hastened to add, were released as, “nothing was found [on] them during the search.” The missing items, he explained, were also eventually located.

“The items complained of were however recovered by the cleaning staff as they cleaned the aircraft…and were found on…the seats in the same cabin. The [items] was returned to the complainants,” Tlali said.

According to the outlet, Tlali also confirmed that the carrier, “…would not hesitate to impose a ban on any passengers who were reported to have breached its conditions of carriage as they formed part of the rights and responsibilities between the airline and its customers.”

Image: Flickr

View Comments (12)

12 Comments

  1. DragonSoul

    October 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Welcome to Asia, where this is a common occurrence (but often hushed up).

  2. littlemissflyer

    October 11, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Have had cash (notes) stolen from my jacket pocket as I hung it up on my window seat hook in front and went to put my case in the overhead bin… woman complete with baby in her arms came to the middle seat rifled through my jacket pocket was even witnessed by passenger in aisle seat who thought it was her jacket and not mine and was stressed and decided to say ‘nothing’. then pushed pass me in the aisle to get away to her own seat!

    And this was a fairly busy easyjet flight too.

    I just thought of the baby and ended up leaving it but in future never again – I will definitely report it in future as it really is extreme.

  3. rjlon

    October 11, 2018 at 4:40 am

    Yes. I always put valuables in carry on and lick it. Plenty of thieves fly.

  4. BMGRAHAM

    October 11, 2018 at 5:48 am

    So in other words the owners dropped the items in their seats in which case there is no story here, other than you giving thieves new ideas.

  5. vicstone

    October 11, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I always put my bags in overhead bins across the isle and NEVER above me. This way, I can always see if someone is touching my bags.

  6. CDTraveler

    October 11, 2018 at 8:25 am

    @ BMGRAHAM the story doesn’t say on whose seats the items were found. Could have been stashed by the thieves once they knew the police had been contacted. Would the article have “stealing spree” in the title if items were found on the owners seats? Doubt it. Would have been about false accusations by pax instead.

  7. awayIgo

    October 11, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I lock my carryon. I also make sure the lock is at the top and the top goes in first.

  8. DrMarkMicro

    October 11, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I’ve heard one or two similar stories via the ‘undergrowth’ and for the past few flights I’ve taken to keeping any small valuable items on me in buttoned/zipped pockets at all times, plus putting a small combination lock on the zips of my hand luggage in the overhead locker.
    You can’t watch bags in the lockers all the time (going to the loo, sleeping). I usually fly with a lot of expensive photographic equipment in my bag in the overhead bin – a zip lock is scarcely high security, but hopefully it would persuade a thief to try another bag.

  9. msconk

    October 11, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Who puts valuables in a carry on?

  10. oranjemakker

    October 11, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    @msconk ummm… where would you suggest we put them? In your checked luggage? Even less secure

  11. snidely

    October 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    “Who puts valuables in a carry on?”

    Where would you suggest putting a camera, laptop. extra cell phone etc.? These responses did give couple good ideas. Put in overhead opposite your seat. Secure bag enough so that thief can’t open it easily.

  12. heungbo

    October 11, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    The other version of this is after your seated in a full flight someone asks you to switch places with them so they can sit next to their wife etc. You are expected to move your seat, which is a ways away, and leave your things in the overhead bin. During the flight your things are picked over. This started with the Chinese also.

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