Each Friday, we feature a reader-submitted tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s tip comes from reader Estelle H., who shares a “story from a passenger who rode an airline going to HK”:
“I would like to draw your attention to an attempted robbery on a flight into Hong Kong last week. With an hour to go, during the flight, I thought I noticed my bag being replaced in the overhead locker. I wasn’t sure and decided it was probably a fellow passenger, moving it to access their own bag.
I dismissed any thought of any wrongdoing, but upon arrival in HK, something told to me to retrieve the bag, just to make sure nothing suspicious had occurred. When I opened the overhead locker (not above me) and saw my leather bag was the only one occupying the space I knew there was a problem. I examined the contents, only to find all of my wife’s jewelry, along with some cash, had been stolen during the flight. I raised the alarm and my wife and I quickly blocked both aisles to stop anyone at the back of the plane disembarking…there were around 120 passengers…
My wife and I both shouted for assistance from the stewards and stewardesses. Eventually a steward told me that security had been called but passengers were becoming very agitated and unwilling to show patience or understanding…they just wanted to get off the plane…my wife and I were the only people controlling the passengers.
I pleaded with the passengers to check their own bags at which point three fellow travellers reported they had also been robbed. It was only at this point that I saw any evidence from the cabin crew that they were willing to provide any meaningful support.
I vaguely remember seeing a passenger wearing black, sporting a white baseball cap, and pleaded with the rest of the passengers to see if they could remember anyone fitting my description. It turned out to be a passenger standing in front of me, who once identified proceeded to offload money, jewelry, camera equipment and false documents, running into tens of thousand, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods. By this time security had boarded the plane, the captain had been informed and was standing in the rear section watching the events unfold.
Eventually a policeman boarded the plane and I was able to explain the events leading up to my apprehending the thief. I have since been informed this criminal activity is reaching epidemic proportions and the authorities caught three thieves just last week, (with 30 already on remand since early December) on flights into HK, with all the criminals coming from the same town in China.
It is estimated that only 5% are being caught judging by the reports of passengers contacting the police after they have arrived at their destination. They sit in the back row of the plane observing where bags are behind or away from the passengers and systematically pull them from the overhead lockers, while passengers rest or watch movies, take them to the back of the plane and steal any valuable contents. They prey on foreign airlines as the penalties are so lenient, the pay-off makes it worth the risk.
I naively have never thought of robbers operating on planes, but now I have experienced it first-hand, there are a few takeaways:
- Hand luggage should ALWAYS be locked.
- Do not assume luggage under your seat is safe…last week one passenger had her purse stolen by the guy sitting next to her while she slept!
- If in doubt, wear or keep any valuables ON YOU at all times!
- Don’t assume, like me, that everyone on a flight is a law-abiding citizen.
- Do not assume business class travel is secure…robbers can be wealthy.”
This is scary stuff. Thanks for the tip, Estelle!
Tried this tip? Let me know in the comments!
Have your own tip? Email it to email@example.com!
Want to see more tips? Click here for all 1,014!
Want even more travel tips? Sign up here for the Daily Travel Tip newsletter! Just fill in your email address and check the Daily Travel Tip box—and you’ll have Johnny’s best tips, straight to your inbox each day!
If you already subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you can sign up on the same page. Just fill in your email and check the Daily Travel Tip box on the same page and you’ll receive an email with a link to update your JohnnyJet.com preferences. On that page, just click the Daily Travel Tip box and Update Profile.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.