Stolen from checked luggage...

Old May 20th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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Stolen from checked luggage...

I just returned from a trip (from Africa - but this board is much more active and thought more people would see this) and had a souvenir stolen from my checked luggage. We had a tight connection in Johannesburg, and the bag didn't get on the flight. I got home yesterday and the bag was delivered to me today - without one of my favorite souvenirs (a small carved wooden head). Has anyone ever had this happen (I'm sure it's not that uncommon) - and would it be worth it to report it? Any chance at all that I might get it back or should I just write it off and make sure to bring special souvenirs in carry-on luggage from now on?
Thanks,
Karen
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Old May 20th, 2005, 06:52 PM
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I cannot say whether you can recover your property but, yes, thefts from checked luggage are routine in Africa.

You were lucky, comparatively. Recently, a friend tried to board with a laptop in Kenya and was told: NO, you must check all electronic equipment.

Needless to say, upon arrival and on opening checked luggage: No laptop.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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I've never had anything taken from my bags,( that I could rememer putting in my bags) although on my last two trips, they were opened both directions, by the inspectors.

If I bring back souvenirs, I always put them in my carry-on bag, which is with me all the time. That is the only way you can be sure you will have them at the end of the trip. I doubt that you would get your item back, unless your name/address were on them.

Although they were not "souvenirs", my husband's bag of golf clubs never arrived in our destination, on a trip a few years ago. We flew through Heathrow and were told later, that at that time, there was a baggage handlers gang which "selected" items to be stolen. Since then, he's traveled with his clubs and had no problems. Tough to have been on a "golfing" trip and without clubs, tho. mhm
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Old May 20th, 2005, 06:57 PM
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Hi althom, I would just chalk it up to a bad experience and a lesson learned. Sure sorry that happened though. But I had a wonderful bathing suit and coverup stolen just flying from Burbank to Sacramento CA.

Always put anything special to you in your carryon. It doesn't just happen in Africa unfortunatly. Best wishes.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 06:58 PM
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I guess I was lucky overall, but I've never had anything stolen from checked luggage before. Also in the bag were some other souvenirs, including a couple necklaces and some small baskets and they arrived in the luggage. The head was quite unusual - a really special piece considering the price and I guess it was tempting. I'm pretty disappointed about it. Has anyone ever gotten anything back after reporting it stolen?
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Old May 20th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Yes, I had a brand new pair of shoes (never worn) stolen from my luggage after returning from Ireland a few years ago. I had that gut feeling that someting happened because when I picked up my baggage the front zipper was undone and clothes were hanging out. I'm believe the theft occurred some time between the Chicago airport and the Las Vegas airport. Sure enough, when I got home I realized my shoes were stolen from the inside. We used our miles to upgrade to first class so I'm sure this was a factor as the bags had priority tags. I immediately returned to American Airlines the following morning and filed a claim. Remarkably, my money was refunded a few months afterward, and I provided proof of my purchase.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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BTW, if you file a claim it has to be done within 24 hours of your arrival back home.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 07:19 PM
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Sorry to hear of your misfortune. I hope the wooden head now has a curse on it and brings nothing but misery to the thief!

But seriously, I think given the above experiences and the Schapelle Corby case going on in Bali, locks on luggage are mandatory.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 08:19 PM
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Check the details for your airline, maybe on the ticket, or on the website. I believe most carriers say 24 hours for domestic flights, but up to a week to file a claim for international. And you should definitely file a claim if you have some sort of proof of purchase to start with.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 09:14 PM
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Yes, I had some chocolates stolen from my checked in bag at Heathrow. I reported the theft to British Air, faxed a copy of my receipt and two weeks later there was a check in the mail. Do report the theft and let us know the outcome.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 09:46 PM
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Hi Mercy your report about your husband's golf clubs is too true. I've heard stories like what you say. The baggage handlers select 'gifts' for themselves because 'everyone else does it'. Most likely that's what happens to golf clubs, laptops, etc.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 09:59 PM
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I had this happen to me on a flight from Seattle to Oaxaca. Took an American carrier to Houston, where we changed to their partner, Mexicana. No luggage appeared in Mexico City, where we stayed the night. The bags, esch sealed with custom seals, caught up with us in Oaxaca in a couple of days. My very expensive camera and lenses, along with all of my shirts were gone. Some baggage handler must have worn my size.

I filed a claim in Oaxaca, and followed up after we got back. Got only a partial reimbursment many months later.

Everything of value now goes in my carry on.

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Old May 20th, 2005, 11:46 PM
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I posted this on the Asia forum also so apologies to those who have already read it. On his last trip to the US my partner had a buunch of Oil of Olay stuff he had picked up for his mom (they do not get the latest generation stuff where they live) and it was stolen from the bag. His bags were opened as they had a slip inside and we could only assume it was the baggage handlers. I was disgusted. The stuff had a total value of US$50 so not the money but was very upsetting not to mention we felt bad we could not give his mom the one thing she had asked for. Happens everywhere I'm afraid...I did not have receipts hence did not file a claim. Also, by the time we opened that particular bag which had mostly similar nature low value gift items in it 24 hours had passed. Don't do the latter any more - open everything to check it's intact as soon as we reach. Re locks on luggage for the US the only option is the approved ones which we did not have prior to this trip...
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Old May 21st, 2005, 02:50 AM
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You don't have any chance getting it back, the 'real issue' here is that airport staff had 'access' to your luggage, although in this case they took something out they could have easily put something in, as I said on the other board the airport authorites together with airlines need to address this issue, yes, it can happen from places in Africa but the airlines need to address this with other authorities and get the problem sorted. Moving baggage from check in to containers without being tampered with is not a major effort, the airlines though should use their economic power to address this at airports where it's a problem.
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Old May 21st, 2005, 04:10 AM
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althom - Karen -

I've read your thread on all the boards. Unfortunately theft is a problem everywhere now that luggage most often has to be left unlocked. So besides the comments that anything of value - jewelry, meds, souvenire, camera/s, film, money, etc. should be in carryon - we travelers can't win for loosing.

I've always made it a point to purchase luggage without any outside pockets or zipper compartments. If by chance there was an outside zipper, I put a lock on it - so no one could put anything inside - a-la-the Australia woman's claim. Well, sadly, locking even outside zips/compartments don't work anymore.

Yes, JamesA - something has to be done, there has to be some uniformity at airports. I feel the best would be for bags to be checked/searched upon check-in, then locked by the passenger. Unfortunately, many airports don't have the space for this to be done - so again, the passengers are screwed.

There is such a conflict here in the State with the TSA on this (and may be in other countries also) - so many claims from passengers, the airlines actually want a better procedure, so that don't have to pay-out on the thousands upon thousands of claims being submitted. Who knows who's doing the stealing (or putting in) but this situation isn't good for airline PR and Customer Service. As to the TSA, they don't seem to be responsible for anything.

All we can do is not take anything of value and pack whatever is in that carryon bag.
 
Old May 21st, 2005, 04:25 AM
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Those locks are useless.... All they really do is announce to those with dishonest intentions that you have something in there that might be of value!

There is not a lock out there a good thief can't get open.
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Old May 21st, 2005, 08:03 AM
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<should I just write it off and make sure to bring special souvenirs in carry-on luggage from now on?>

Unfortunately I think you have answered your own question.

I don't see how it can hurt to report it. But I also can't imagine the series of circumstances that would actually get the item returned to you.
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Old May 21st, 2005, 08:24 AM
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I agree locking does no good. My luggage was slashed and my gifts were missing. Had we not been rushing home because of a death in the family, we would have reported it.
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