item stolen at airport from bags?
January 17, 2008 7:38 PM   Subscribe

does anyone know if you can get items back that were lost in your checked bags at the airport?

My boyfriend had a very nice leatherman that he checked in one of his bags while flying. When he got home, it was completely gone. Would someone have stolen it while looking through the bag at security? If it was lost, would there be any way to get it back? Thank you!!
posted by tessalations999 to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
It was probably stolen. You will never see it again, sorry.
posted by sharkfu at 7:44 PM on January 17, 2008

You can call the airline and file a claim. There's a 100% chance you will never see the knife again, however, they might cut you a check.
posted by birdherder at 7:52 PM on January 17, 2008

One of my best friends is a flight attendant. She says that they aren't allowed to lock their luggage, and I've listened to her angrily tell me of stuff being stolen numerous times. She apparently hasn't been able to do anything about it so unfortunately you might be in the same boat. You can't really prove it was definitely packed and then stolen. Plus, you can't say where the bag was when you were allegedly robbed because it was out of your sight. So there's nobody to question. Best you can do is file a claim with the airlines so at least they're aware that something suspicious is going on. If people never complain then nobody will ever be aware that there's a thief in their company.

Sucks. I'm sorry. :(
posted by miss lynnster at 8:03 PM on January 17, 2008

In the U.S., the Transportation Security Administration sometimes does manual inspections of checked bags. So you might want to notify them if your flight originated and/or landed in that country.
posted by Dec One at 8:18 PM on January 17, 2008

Airline lost luggage claims are notoriously variable. But you won't get anything at all unless you file a claim.

Review your other related materials for insurance coverage, e.g. via a credit card purchase of the ticket.

There are TSA employees who have been caught taking advantage, but they're generally in public areas where it's difficult to steal. The theft was most likely somewhere in the baggage chain between check-in and airplane (or vice versa). Baggage handlers have long periods of time in secluded areas with your luggage, and it only takes a second to jimmy many suitcase locks (or, nowadays, a stolen TSA master key). They're professionals who know exactly what to look for. Many of them take these jobs precisely because of the "fringe benefits." Bim, bam, boom -- your stuff is gone.
posted by dhartung at 8:35 PM on January 17, 2008
posted by MrBCID at 9:01 PM on January 17, 2008

Sorry but it was stolen. The exact same thing happened to me. These days I never check anything valuable. I mail smaller stuff ahead of time and carry the rest on board.
One thing you might consider next time is this great bit of advice from Boing Boing: In a nutshell, get a starter pistol for each bag you plan to check. You don't need a license in any state but TSA considers it a weapon so your bags will be secured separately and receive extra scrutiny all the way to your destination. So no lost/delayed bags or stuff!
posted by special-k at 9:10 PM on January 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

Here's an old, but interesting, article on the phenomenon, not to mention the reason why you should never check anything valuable when you fly--unless you're okay with never seeing it again. I ran across several years ago (it may have even been posted in the blue): Ramp Rats' Revenge

Thanks to this, and a couple of other anecdotal stories, I never check any baggage when flying unless it's absolutely necessary. Fortunately, I've been lucky in the last five years or so.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 10:39 PM on January 17, 2008

Yeah, my leatherman -- engraved, from a friend -- was lost too. The baggage handlers ripped a hole in the front pocket of my relatively new luggage and it went out through there. No way to know where it happened -- in the plane? In my departure airport? In the arrival airport? On the tarmac? -- and I never got it back. Baggage claim at my arrival airport just shrugged, said "it happens", and refused to pay to fix my luggage. Oh how I love flying.
posted by olinerd at 4:15 AM on January 18, 2008

Probably doesn't help all that much, but did you fly thru JFK?
posted by prophetsearcher at 7:55 AM on January 18, 2008

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