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One of the top travel news stories from this past week was about the flight attendant who was charged with stealing an $8,000 bracelet from a security checkpoint. Unfortunately, theft of all kind seems to be on the rise.
You may remember in the summer, an American Airlines passenger was caught stealing $10,000 in cash from other fliers during a trip from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Miami, Florida per court documents.
Travelers need to be vigilant about protecting their belongings at every point in their journey, from the TSA line to in-flight.
Regarding the in-flight theft, according to People Magazine: “At least one flight attendant noticed his suspicious activity mid-flight, according to an affidavit signed by a passenger, noting that [Diego Sebastian] Radio initially paced the aisle of the plane and then took an unassigned seat near one of the victims. The alleged crime was discovered when a flight attendant asked a passenger to check her belongings and discovered that several items were missing.”
In-flight theft on airplanes happens more than you might think, especially on red eyes and/or long-haul flights when most passengers are sleeping.
That’s why one of my travel tips is to put your carry-on bag in the overhead bin directly across from you. I know, I know … everyone thinks you’re supposed to put it in the bin directly above you but hear me out. If the bag is across from you, then you can keep an eye on your bag and see which bag someone is rummaging through.
It’s also smart to keep any cash or valuables on your person (use a money belt, fanny pack or money/passport holder around your neck) because there have been incidents when, even when your bag is under the seat in front of you, seatmates have stolen things when people get up to use the bathroom. You don’t want to lose your passport or cash especially so a money belt or fanny pack will keep them safe.
However, if you don’t plan on getting things out of your carry-on and don’t plan to sleep during the flight, then it’s a good idea to put your carry-on directly above you – especially because of COVID since other passengers don’t want you hovering over them if you need to get things from your bag mid-flight.
If you do put your bag in the overhead bin across the aisle from you, then be prepared for your seatmates to say something, since many think the space above them is theirs and theirs alone, even though it’s not. I’ve had people yell at me but when I calmly explained why, they usually agreed it makes much more sense. Plus, they can use the space above you, since you’re not using it and then they can keep an eye on their own stuff. Win-win.
Other ways to prevent in-flight theft? If you have valuables in your carry-on bag, then place your bag upside down with the zippers toward the back of the overhead bin. Also make sure you put locks on the zippers for an added layer of protection.
Do you have any tips to add to this story? Have you ever been robbed in-flight?
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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.