Top 5 Tips to Avoid In-flight Theft

July 11th, 2013

Beware: in-flight theft is on the rise. Top 5 Tips to avoid this happening to you

Of all the places you could lose your belongings during your travels, you would think that the last place to get stung is the overhead locker directly above you on a plane. It appears that an aircraft is one of the best places for an opportunistic thief to target, simply because no one expects it. It’s a criminal phenomena that is on the rise. Why More and more people are trying to avoid checking in their bags, because more and more airlines are introducing baggage fees. Ironically, one of the other reasons passengers give for not checking in their luggage is they believe there can be a lot of theft from baggage handlers.

People generally carry their most valuable or fragile items as on-board luggage and that’s no secret. However, items like wallets, passports and cameras are usually tossed into overhead compartments or seat pockets and simply assumed safe. What many travelers don’t consider is that all it takes is one quick trip to the bathroom for thieves to strike, even if there are people around.

Ensuring your luggage can’t move around and get damaged during a flight, putting a lock on your bag and where possible, making sure your valuables never leave your sight are a few simple precautions you can take to keep your belongings safe. Just keep in mind that the plane is no different from the train or bus.

Here are our Top 5 Tips to avoid becoming the next victim:

  1. Lock your bags, a thief needs to be quick and does not have time for locks
  2. Place your bags in the overhead bin with the zipper, or access points facing the wall and facing downward if your bag is unlocked; a thief on a flight will not remove a bag to spin it around to gain access.
  3. Keep your wallet, cash and passport secure on you, or in a secure bag at your feet. Do not place these items in your jacket pocket (you may take it off).
  4. Place a loose camera, which you may hang from your shoulder, under your legs/feet.
  5. If you’re in an aisle seat make sure your items, such as a laptop bag or small backpack, are fully under the seat in front of you; positioned in the direction of the window seat not the aisle side; or are in some way secured to you.

Remember that while a sealed airplane may seem like a safe place to forget the basics of protecting your personal property, there are professional thieves out there and you don’t want to be their next target. And of course — remember to take out travel insurance.