Increasing Theft of Carry-on Luggage Prompts Luggage Protection Tags to Give Travelers Tips on Protecting Their Valuables

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Theft of valuables from carry-on bags during flights, and theft of the carry-on bags themselves as passengers de-plane, are both on the rise.

Always keep your "theft meter" turned on and operating, even at 30,000 feet.

As airlines increase the fees for checked bags, people are stuffing more things in their carry-on luggage. Recently, a network TV news station ran a segment about theft both of valuables from carry-on luggage, as well as the theft of the bag itself happening during and after both domestic and international flights. There was a similar network news story from 2010, so theft isn’t a new problem, but it is a problem that’s on the rise.

Unfortunately, suspicious activity by other passengers tends to be reported after the plane has landed and passengers have mostly left, making recovery of items much more difficult. In addition, the traveler may not even realize something is missing until they arrive at their destination and unpack.

The instances of theft have occurred:

  •     Most commonly when the traveler is unable to put their bags in the bin directly over their head where they can keep them in sight.
  •     Some people have spotted their bags being carried away in the terminal by someone that got off the plane before the owner and the thief then tried to get away into the crowd. ID each piece of carry-on luggage with either a luggage tag, a bright ID label, or both, like those offered by Luggage Protection Tags.
  •     There have also been theft instances of garment bags that are hanging out of the owner’s line of sight, or items being stolen out of garment bags during flights.
  •     Theft has been reported of jewels, passports, money, credit cards and personal electronics out of purses or luggage when the passenger went to the bathroom.
  •     An especially high theft time seems to be during night flights or anytime when the owner is sleeping and/or intoxicated to the point they are not paying attention to their surroundings.

Many folks take sleeping pills to get through long flights, but sound sleepers are especially at risk of having their carry-on luggage targeted.

Things you can do to protect yourself include:

  •     Before you travel, put ID tags on all your “losable” items like passports, cameras, personal electronics, sports gear and even kid’s toys. Using the bright ID labels which are provided with each new membership by Luggage Protection Tags makes your item easier to identity at a distance, and tells thieves you are an “aware” traveler. For items you can’t stick a label onto, the toll free# and your family ID# can be written on clothing or toys with an indelible Sharpie pen.
  •     Never put wallets, cameras, personal electronics, passports, or cash in luggage or pockets of coats that are placed in overhead bins or the hang-up area. A quick brush of the hand by a pickpocket can divulge the presence of those valuables.
  •     Whenever possible keep those valuable items on your person, in pouches under your clothing, money belts, or vests designed for travel with many zippered pockets for valuables. If in a purse never let it out of your sight and always take it with you to the bathroom.
  •     If you are going to sleep, keep your “valuables pouch” or purse in your lap and in your grasp so that any movement of it would waken you.
  •     A simple thing to do is to turn the opening of the bag to the back of the bin making a quick search more difficult.
  •     Lock your bags with zipper locks or full cover mesh bags designed for this purpose. Make your bag too much of a bother so the thief moves on to another bag.
  •     Never take something of value out and then put it back when other passengers can see you do so. Even if you then lock the bag, bags can be slashed quickly to remove a known item in a known location.
  •     Make your carry-on bags easy to spot at a distance, just as you would with your checked items. Bright stickers like the ones offered by Luggage Protection Tags, bright tape, ribbons or yarn, etc. can help you spot your bag at a distance if someone steals it.
  •     Buy only bright colored bags that are distinctive, never black bags. Black bags are the most common color and the easiest to steal because of it.

This all goes back to keeping your wits about you whenever you travel. Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into thinking just because you’re in close quarters with others in an aluminum tube at 30,000 feet that you are at any less risk from pickpockets and thieves than you would be on the ground.

About The Company

The founder of Luggage Protection Tags, Boots Gibson, is an avid traveler and had searched for a company to safely identify her luggage and important personal items, after seeing a Dateline TV segment about burglars getting addresses off luggage tags at departure terminals. She had a list of 6 criteria she wanted from a service, but could only find companies that met 1 or 2 of those criteria, so she started Luggage Protection Tags, Inc. to offer others the same level of service she wanted.

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