Laptop stolen mid air on UA flight

Old Mar 16, 20, 8:44 am
  #1  
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Laptop stolen mid air on UA flight

I am posting to bring this to the attention of more people, so you can be more careful next time you are on the flight.
I was recently flying from IAD to BUF, its a short 1 hr flight, Unaware of anything like this, I stowed my laptop bag in the overhead bin in the cabin.
As it was a morning flight, I fell asleep for some time. After getting off the flight, I went to work directly, only to realize my laptop missing from the bag.
Initially, I suspected that I left it in the security of the departing airport, so contacted the lost and found. However, it was not to be found. Upon a police complaint and insisting on the security footage, the police viewed the footage and confirmed seeing me pickup the laptop and putting it inside the bag. As I was late for my flight, I proceeded directly to board my flight from the security.
The police stated that they receive a lot of complaints about losing laptops on-board and its a common occurrence. Its been 2 weeks now, and am still trying to come to terms with it, as I had lot of family pictures on it. Lesson learnt hard way - will never put it again in the overhead bin next time I fly.
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Pavan Juvvadi is offline  
Old Mar 16, 20, 11:20 am
  #2  
 
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Is it a Mac ? You can geo-locate it if it is, and even disable it remotely. Sorry this happened to you.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 11:35 am
  #3  
 
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Unfortunately, two weeks is a little late to be posting about this. Hopefully you were able to shut it down with your phone and you had made a backup somewhere (but it doesn't sound like you did either).
JetAway is offline  
Old Mar 16, 20, 11:37 am
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Sorry to hear this.

I've often wondered whether this happens. It would be so easy particularly when you store your bags far away from you.

Originally Posted by Pavan Juvvadi View Post
I am posting to bring this to the attention of more people, so you can be more careful next time you are on the flight.
I was recently flying from IAD to BUF, its a short 1 hr flight, Unaware of anything like this, I stowed my laptop bag in the overhead bin in the cabin.
As it was a morning flight, I fell asleep for some time. After getting off the flight, I went to work directly, only to realize my laptop missing from the bag.
Initially, I suspected that I left it in the security of the departing airport, so contacted the lost and found. However, it was not to be found. Upon a police complaint and insisting on the security footage, the police viewed the footage and confirmed seeing me pickup the laptop and putting it inside the bag. As I was late for my flight, I proceeded directly to board my flight from the security.
The police stated that they receive a lot of complaints about losing laptops on-board and its a common occurrence. Its been 2 weeks now, and am still trying to come to terms with it, as I had lot of family pictures on it. Lesson learnt hard way - will never put it again in the overhead bin next time I fly.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:08 pm
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I always put my bag above the opposite seats so I can see when someone opens bin. Obviously doesn’t help during sleep, but it’s my standard practice.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:12 pm
  #6  
 
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I had my work laptop stolen a few years back on a UA flight - it is indeed a risk.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:14 pm
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Sorry to hear of you laptop loss. Mine was stolen on a train before we left the station in Zurich about a year ago, during a moment of jet lagged disinterest in my surroundings.

Not directed at the OP, because he has learned this, but at everyone else: If you don't think you need to back up your laptop, you're wrong. I had everything backed up through a combination of Dropbox, iCloud and BackBlaze. Maybe overkill, but literally all I had to do was buy a new laptop, and I was up-and-running instantly, and totally restored within a couple of days.

Only downside is that I now have an odd keyboard -- one with umlauts on it!

Last edited by MisterTanaka; Mar 16, 20 at 12:15 pm Reason: All those umlauts, and I didn't even use one for Zürich!
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:19 pm
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I would suspect that it was someone who was sitting nearby and knew that it was the bag of someone sleeping. It would seem rather risky for someone further away to open a random bin and rifle through a random bag not knowing who it belongs too.

Not that it helps much. One reason I generally don’t put my wallet/passport in the overhead bin carryon (with limited seat storage I usually wear cargo pants aboard).
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:25 pm
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This is a really good reminder that things aren't secure in the overhead bins. Sorry you had to experience this loss.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:28 pm
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For the broader audience:

1. Everybody needs to back up their hard drive. Lots of things happen, not just theft.
2. Don't store anything sensitive on the hard drive.
3. Have a remote locator feature + remote wipe just in case.
4. File an insurance claim immediately. Many policies have very short notification periods, even if the claim itself isn't filed right away.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by tods27 View Post
This is a really good reminder that things aren't secure in the overhead bins. Sorry you had to experience this loss.
Ever since the story broke a few years ago about an Air France flight attendant who was caught pilfering through sleeping passengers' belongings, I put a lock on my bag if I'm putting it in the overhead, especially if I'm planning to sleep. They're hardly foolproof, but it seems like it'd be enough of a deterrent to make a potential thief move on to another target.

OP: Welcome to FlyerTalk!

Sorry to hear about your experience. In addition to the other things that have been mentioned, note that if you have renters' or homeowners' insurance, your loss may be covered; also, some credit card travel protection benefits cover items that are lost or stolen on board.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:31 pm
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Keep in mind that unless you pulled it out after leaving security and put it back as you started to board, it could have been stolen in the terminal.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:32 pm
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On some airlines, I dont remember if it was SriLankan or Ethiopian Airlines, they reminded everyone as part of the safety briefing to not keep valuables like cash and passport in the overhead bins.

Once I saw a person walk away with someone else's laptop bag on a KLM intra-Europe flight and when stopped by the owner he just handed the bag over and walked away.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:42 pm
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It's a pain but my computer bag ALWAYS goes under the seat. Reason in particular I won't sit in row 1.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Ever since the story broke a few years ago about an Air France flight attendant who was caught pilfering through sleeping passengers' belongings, I put a lock on my bag if I'm putting it in the overhead, especially if I'm planning to sleep. They're hardly foolproof, but it seems like it'd be enough of a deterrent to make a potential thief move on to another target.
I've never considered this before. Makes sense, especially for TPAC and TATL flights. Thanks for the tip!
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