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A Cautionary Tale About Overhead Bin Security  
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6485 posts, RR: 54
Posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 10461 times:

A colleague wrote:

We recently travelled to Kuala Lumpur on Qatar Airways. It was a late evening flight and we snoozed most of the way over.

During the flight my wife was disturbed by someone rummaging around in the overhead bin above her seat. She thought nothing of it and assumed the individual was simply getting something out of their own bag. She did happen to notice however the individual walk away with what looked like a Nintendo DS, just like the one our son has, but hey, a black Nintendo DS is not an uncommon item.

At the end of the flight we couldn't find our son's Nintendo DS - my wife then put 2 2 together and became convinced that it had been stolen by the person she had seen earlier. I was not so sure - kids being kids it could have gone missing anywhere on our journey. My wife insisted I report it to the cabin staff, which I did (although more to keep the peace it has to be said).

My wife also searched the baggage re-claim hall to see if she could spot the individual again but by now some time had elapsed and she could not find the person.

On our way to our friends' house where we were staying, my wife reached into her bag (the same bag where she was convinced the Nintendo DS had been placed) to get her mobile phone to call ahead to our friends to warn them of our impending arrival. The mobile was not there.

I am convinced that both items were stolen from the bag by someone (most likely a fellow passenger) on the plane. I have never heard of this type of incident before and it never occurred to me that such a thing could happen. My wife's purse was also in the bag but it was secured in a side zipped pocket inside the bag - maybe if my wife hadn't woken up the purse (with credit cards etc.) would have gone missing too - who knows.

In future I will be much more careful about what goes into the overhead bin and how it is secured.


Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
48 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4365 posts, RR: 28
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 10415 times:

Although I've never had anything stolen on a flight, whenever possible I make it a habit of putting any bag I carry on in the overhead bin ACROSS the aisle from my seat. That way, if anyone ever opens the bin I usually have a clear view of them and what they are doing. I tend to be very security conscious when I travel and I always thought about how easy it would be to "lift" someone else's belongings from the overhead bins because most people tend to put them in the bin directly over their seats.

Sorry to hear about your experience. It must be extremely maddening to think of how morally bereft some people can be, especially under those circumstances.



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineSInGAPORE_AIR From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13745 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 10373 times:

Sorry to hear about your experience Prebennorholm.

A wise precautionary tale though.



Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineHeathrow From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 979 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 10294 times:

I am sorry to hear that happenned. I guess the lesson learned here is never to pack anything valuable out of sight. Items like that should be in pockets, in the seat pocket in front of you, or under the seat in front of you. I hope you get these items back!

User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10203 times:



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 1):
Although I've never had anything stolen on a flight, whenever possible I make it a habit of putting any bag I carry on in the overhead bin ACROSS the aisle from my seat. That way, if anyone ever opens the bin I usually have a clear view of them and what they are doing.

I do something similar. If I have anything valuable in my carry-on, I put it in the BOTTOM of the bag with the cheap stuff like toothpaste, etc. in a plastic bag on top of the item. I the zip the bag and place the bag in the overhead so that the zippers are in the back of the bin with the bottom of the bag facing out. Then, if I have a jacket, I place it in front of the bag.

I know that I sound paranoid, but I have been doing it this way for so long that it is now automatic.


User currently offlineNWADC9 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4898 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10075 times:

I prefer the ultimate security - under the seat in front of me  Smile


Flying an aeroplane with only a single propeller to keep you in the air. Can you imagine that? -Capt. Picard
User currently offlineShankly From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 1545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10038 times:

Prebennorholm, how very disappointing for your family. The front of some people is beyond belief.

I had my Pilot magazine liberated from my seat pocket during an SAA overnight LHR-CPT, in Business. £3.00 magazine, no big deal, but just overwhelmingly annoying that someone could be so rude!



L1011 - P F M
User currently offlineEKEY77W From Spain, joined Nov 2007, 10 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10030 times:



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 1):

Well in fact that's not a surprise for me in fact that kind of things occur once in a blue moon but occurs.The bin's are very opened during long flights for getting something like you mp3,PSP,etc.... I think that REDFLYER uses a good way to watch for is personal belongings.On the other hand we MUST REMEMBER as all the airports an airlines said over the air something like this " please do not leave your luggage without control...." so then this situations are a good moment for the "friends" of other persons belongings including in the air crafts during Long haul flights.So keep an eye on all your personal belongings ALWAYS and by of course try to avoid show something suitable for that kind of "Ali babas.....and the 40 thieves" Big grin (just a bit of humor to put off some iron in the TALE)
In my case I used to fly with everything necessary for the flight using a small bag that I put below my seat or in the bin across my seat in the even case my seat was on a emergency exit.


User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 9886 times:

Your wife should have put her purse under the seat in front of her. That would have prevented any thefts whatsoever. IMO, it was your wife at fault here.... Never leave valuables in the overhead bins.

If you had a million dollars in cash, would you put it in the overhead bin? Just food for thought...



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 9736 times:



Quoting Shankly (Reply 6):

I had my Pilot magazine liberated from my seat pocket during an SAA overnight LHR-CPT, in Business. £3.00 magazine, no big deal, but just overwhelmingly annoying that someone could be so rude!

Have you given any consideration that someone my have thought it was a airline supplied magazine and really didn't steal it but took it to their seat to read it? And then left it their seat pocket?


User currently offlineJoffie From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 812 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 9689 times:

This makes for an interesting thread.

On a recent Kingfisher flight to Delhi, my friends bag was "mistaken" by a person travelling with a disabled pax. Nedless to say 4 passports, his wallet and phone were all in that bag. We were due to fly to Singapore 5 hours later, and couldn't even leave the country. Lucky, we got it back, but not until over 3 hours later, so made the SQ flight just in time. You dont even want to know what goes through your head when your passport is "lost" in a foreign country!!"


User currently offlineSkytony From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 145 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 9593 times:

Yeah put it underneath the seat in front of you so the person sitting in front of you can snatch your bag while you are asleep. I am sad to say this is not the first time I have heard of this. As a crew member I have pad locks on my bags and usually place it in a closet. People must be careful of there belongings. Another concern is that people can place things into other people's bag if they want to smuggle something into another country. Food for thought. Passengers be aware!


Lower your expectations! You will always be pleasantly surprised!
User currently offlineTG992 From New Zealand, joined Jan 2001, 2910 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 9580 times:



Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 8):
IMO, it was your wife at fault here

Give me a break  Yeah sure



-
User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6927 posts, RR: 76
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 9511 times:



Quoting NWADC9 (Reply 5):
I prefer the ultimate security - under the seat in front of me

Agree! My basic rules:
Valuable item for travelling (passports, money, tickets, laptop, camera, documents) goes in the seat in front of me... non-valuables goes on the overhead.
If my surrounding seats are empty, I take passport, ticket and enough money with me to the toilet!!!!!

Make it a habit to check for the items when you return from the toilet too! And it's wise not to go to the toilet too near 10,000ft on descent... at least more time to raise a fuss if items go missing!

If traveling with friends, ensure a strictly no pranks of taking stuff whilst onboard!

Mandala499



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlinePlateMan From United States of America, joined May 2007, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 9496 times:



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 1):
Although I've never had anything stolen on a flight, whenever possible I make it a habit of putting any bag I carry on in the overhead bin ACROSS the aisle from my seat.



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 4):
I do something similar. If I have anything valuable in my carry-on, I put it in the BOTTOM of the bag with the cheap stuff like toothpaste, etc. in a plastic bag on top of the item.

I do the same as both of you....also if I have something valuable I will always check before deboarding. If its that there, you know someone on that plane has it.



"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
User currently offlineRwy04LGA From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3176 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 9409 times:



Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 8):
Your wife should have put her purse under the seat in front of her. That would have prevented any thefts whatsoever. IMO, it was your wife at fault here.

So, it wasn't the fault of the thief? C'mon now, do you really mean that?



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offlineSkyGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 451 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 9328 times:



Quoting Prebennorholm (Thread starter):

Society really is going downhill nowadays. I had my purse stolen on a flight, and it was an absolute nightmare. I had to cancel my debit card and get a new one, and file for a new passport, luckily I had a spare drivers license at home. I do everything I can to hide my stuff when I'm at work, but I get so nervous now whenever I'm away from my bags.

Quoting Skytony (Reply 11):
As a crew member I have pad locks on my bags and usually place it in a closet.

Good to know I'm not the only one to lock my bags up. My pet peeve is when I'm flying in the back and there is no closet, and I have to put my bags in the overhead and people move my bags to put their bags where mine was. It's super frustrating.



...Now they face an even greater danger...Tyrannousaurs in F-14's!!
User currently offlineKL642 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 350 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9251 times:

Sheesh, stuff like this you would expect on a Greyhound bus not on an aircraft!
Alex


User currently offlineJOEYCAPPS From Italy, joined Jul 2008, 206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9222 times:



Quoting KL642 (Reply 17):
Sheesh, stuff like this you would expect on a Greyhound bus not on an aircraft!

Yeah, but air travel is now more affordable and accessible to everyone that used to rely on Greyhound's. Hop on your next domestic flight and have a look at 90% of the people around you. Its a sad, but true fact.


User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3431 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9203 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR



Quoting SkyGirl (Reply 16):
Good to know I'm not the only one to lock my bags up.

Here as well. It is real sad to see and hear what the world is coming to.


Rgds

SA7700



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3070 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9190 times:



Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 13):
Quoting NWADC9 (Reply 5):
I prefer the ultimate security - under the seat in front of me

Agree! My basic rules:
Valuable item for travelling (passports, money, tickets, laptop, camera, documents) goes in the seat in front of me... non-valuables goes on the overhead.

Absolutely! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who does that.

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 13):
If my surrounding seats are empty, I take passport, ticket and enough money with me to the toilet!!!!!

Same here.

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 13):
Make it a habit to check for the items when you return from the toilet too!

Yep. Every single time.



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineShankly From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 1545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 9090 times:



Quoting 474218 (Reply 9):
Have you given any consideration that someone my have thought it was a airline supplied magazine and really didn't steal it but took it to their seat to read it? And then left it their seat pocket?

Yes I did. But I also wondered why they were going through my seat pocket contents and why they did not have the courtesy to check with me in the morning. Are you an apologist?



L1011 - P F M
User currently offlineMashimaro1 From Australia, joined Dec 2007, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8851 times:

So many people have mentioned putting underneath the seat in front of you but I'm a bit skeptical. What's to stop the person sitting in the seat in front of you to bend over and just take it from underneath him/her.

Sorry I sound paranoid :P


User currently offlineStandby87 From Switzerland, joined Jul 2001, 536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8784 times:

Be careful out there, some stories from the past:

BA Cabin Crew had her purse stolen operating LHR-BUD.
There were a lot of football fans on that day.
NFT.

Duty Free Bar went missing once - Cabin Crew was convinced it was stolen by another staff member!


User currently offlineTrentXWB From India, joined Sep 2008, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 8561 times:



Quoting Prebennorholm (Thread starter):

Sorry to hear about your experience. It's really an eye-opener and thanks for sharing it.

Like many people have said here, I always put my bag in an overhead bin across the aisle where I can see it. I think you can always have an eye on your bag if you do it that way. I always carry my DSLR and a lens in my bag. But I always keep the cash and passport with me. And I don't sleep much when I'm on a flight (I don't get sleep while traveling  Sad )



People who ignore the seat belt warning have never been through turbulance.
25 JJJ : Something similar happened to me. On a flight I took out of LAX I was carrying my passport, of all places, inside the book I was reading at the momen
26 BlooBirdie : On return flights, especially from holidays, DIRTY LAUNDRY at the top of the bag is the best defence.
27 SA7700 : I usually leave those for custom officials... Rgds SA7700
28 Zkpilot : I'm surprised no-one has mentioned locks! Most crew I know lock their bags! Sure a lock isn't going to stop a determined thief (its easy enough to bre
29 Kmh1956 : I have taken to only carrying a small backpack with me (and I mean REALLY small) which will fit my handbag and maybe a paperback book. That thing goes
30 Sparkingwave : It's easier to notice when your bag goes missing if it's under the seat - your feet suddenly have more space. Also, you have a good idea who took it,
31 Max999 : For the F/As on here: If someone reports a theft in the middle of a flight, how do you handle the situation? Does your airline have a specific policy
32 Manu : This is something I will have to adopt. Thanks for the trip RedFlyer. I wouldn't be flying in Y, or for work as I usually do, if I had a million in c
33 Jetstar : I remember reading that some thieves book the red eye flights and watch for people that had laptops and go into their bags in the overhead bins during
34 AAMDanny : Exactly what I do. I had the same problem, I used to be a overseas holiday rep, and I was travelling back from PMI to BHX for a week on leave to go t
35 SW733 : This stinks, but it does happen. Put me in the column of people who always lock their carry on bags while in-flight, at least the pockets that have AN
36 OA260 : Sorry to hear about that . Its very bad. You sometimes get a false sense of security maybe because you are in a closed enviroment but I guess its just
37 Iairallie : Ditto! Especially for wallet, cell and documents. Have you ever tried to bend over and pull something out from underneath your seat, I have when some
38 Jeffbart33 : Personally, I always take my collapsable and put it in the overhead wheels out and zippers down. That way somebody will have to take it all the way ou
39 Isitsafenow : This is another reason why my bag goes in the bin opposite my seat. I can see it if the bin is open and whose screwing around in the bin and just what
40 AirframeAS : I should have said that it would have been BOTH at fault.
41 Kire : There is another argument not to put the stuff into the overhead compartment (MUC MAD flight, what does "MAD" mean?). I had my backpack with the 17" M
42 Raffik : I have two bags- a larger one that I put in the overhead baggage compartment with larger items like a cardigan and book, then a smaller one that has m
43 MillwallSean : I was on a MH flight once when something similar happened. First the flightdeck came on and asked if anyone had seen a missing laptop and wallet etc.
44 SeansasLCY : I was onboard a CX flight from LHR-HKG and the crew came on and said "A passenger has had a valuable item stolen from their baggage. Will the person
45 Jetstar : I would be leery of putting anything in the seat pockets, I have heard stories of some pretty gross items like used diapers that have been found in t
46 Skydrol : Wow... this is something I never really thought would be a problem within the confined space of an airplane. I always keep my carry-on bag under the s
47 Mandala499 : 1 advantage of having "crucial items" under the seat in front... if you need to evacuate in a really dodgy destination... U can grab that stuff with y
48 Elite : My passport, mobile phone, iPod and wallet are almost always in my pockets. If it is in my bag, I put it under the seat in front of me. Surprisingly,
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