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Who’s Responsible When Your Bags Arrive Before You?

Who’s Responsible When Your Bags Arrive Before You?
Jennifer Billock

An Oregon man returned home from the Midwest for the holidays only to find that one of his bags—one that was full of Christmas gifts—had been stolen off the carousel in the Portland airport. Now the man wants to know: Why isn’t security around the baggage claim area secure enough to prevent this?

Oregon resident David Grilli ran into several issues trying to come home from his holiday celebrations in the Midwest: Two of his flights from Chicago were canceled and eventually his bags returned on a separate flight than the one on which he and his husband flew home. And when they arrived at Portland International Airport (PDX), there was another issue—one of his bags had been stolen off the carousel at baggage claim.

“The bags arrived before we did,” Grilli told KATU2. “We had no chance to stand by the baggage claim belt and claim our own bag. They were left. They weren’t taken and dealt with in an expedient manner to protect them.”

Delta employees retrieved two of Grilli’s bags when they arrived 30 minutes before his flight, but the third was gone. Officers at the airport told him that someone had taken it from the carousel and left.

“Anybody can walk in off the street and grab a bag, it shouldn’t happen that way,” Grilli told KATU2.

Portland airport spokesperson Steve Johnson says bag thefts do happen, though security measures are in place to prevent it, like security cameras, police officers patrolling baggage claim and airport employees who report suspicious activity.

“There have been situations in the past where individuals will work the bag claim area. We do put extra resources when that happens,” Johnson told KATU2. “We have been successful in the past of apprehending individuals who are stealing bags from the carousels.”

[Photo: Getty]

View Comments (4)


  1. SpartyAir

    January 4, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    This doesn’t need to happen. Several years ago at MSP, you had to show proof of bag ownership in order to exit the baggage claim area. Not any more. It could easily institute an automated solution. There could be an exit gate from baggage in which you had to scan your baggage claim tag and scan the tag on the bag. If they didn’t match the alarm would sound. This would also prevent people who accidentally picked up the wrong bag because it looked like theirs. You say, what if the passenger didn’t have their bag claim tag at the destination. If they can’t handle a simple task like keeping track of their tag from beginning to end of flight — tough bananas. They can wait for luggage personnel to come check for ID.

  2. AsiaTravel2019

    January 4, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Reason # 10,598 why I am not checking luggage anymore. Despite the fact I get 3 checked bags because of my status and my ticket.

    Just not worth it.

  3. allansoc

    January 6, 2019 at 7:29 am

    This has always baffled me, Last year, I went to pick up my partner from Atlanta airport and just walked up to the baggage carousel and picked up his bag (as my partner we share bags so even without looking at the tags (which I did), I knew it was his (ours))) and then wandered off to meet him further down the walkway…. walking away looking as mortified as ever, as I could have quite easily walked off with as many bags as I wanted. So much so for airport security.

  4. Exec_Plat

    January 6, 2019 at 8:47 am

    “Who’s responsible when your bags arrive before you do?”


    Does the airline’s CoC regarding bags end when the bag is placed on a carousel? Or when they deliever it to YOU?

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