Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

What's the deal with the Saran-wrapped luggage???

What's the deal with the Saran-wrapped luggage???

Old Jun 14th, 2011, 05:15 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 86
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What's the deal with the Saran-wrapped luggage???

We recently returned from a trip to Mallorca, Spain. While at the airport in Madrid, we noticed long lines of (mostly European) passengers waiting to have their luggage Saran-wrapped at a kiosk before checking in for their flights. We remembered seeing this same thing occurring on our last trip to Malta. What's the deal with that? Do European airlines have a problem with leaking baggage compartments? We can't remember seeing that at the airports in the States (maybe a security issue?). Please shed some light on this mystery for us. Thanks!
chucktown_dobbs is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 05:21 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 567
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It prevents/discourage luggage tampering. If the saran wrap is torn when the luggage reaches its destination then you know someone had gone through your belongings.

I don't know how the saran wrap works if security personnel needs to open up your wrapped luggage for hand inspection though.
Axel2DP is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 05:29 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,519
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, many third world countries and former Soviet republics denizens have this (mis)conception that wrapping luggage in plastic will prevent baggage handlers or whoever else has access to the checked-in luggage from pilfering valuables.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 06:03 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 490
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You can do it at the Miami airport, too - one of the worst places in the US for "opportunistic" baggage handling.
tejana is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 06:07 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So bad for the environment with the waste of plastic!
dutyfree is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 06:35 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,679
Likes: 0
Received 12 Likes on 1 Post
I've seen this also at a number of airports.

Doesn't it encourage security to rip it off and go thru your luggage?
joannyc is online now  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 07:58 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,818
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've seen it on different continents throughout the decades. It's too prevent tampering/theft. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is online now  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 07:58 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,818
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Correction: "to", "not, "too". Happy Travels!
Guenmai is online now  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 08:40 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's been around for a long time, and as noted, some people believe that it will deter thieves, but all they would have to do would be to re-wrap the luggage before sending in on to its final destination, minus the gifts, or anything else, someone though were safe inside.

It's also a definite magnet for the TSA, and will not make it through US Customs.
Robert2533 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 09:09 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,798
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
At CDG airport, they have a mobile unit that rolls up to do the luggage of most flights to sub-Saharan Africa. It pretty much becomes an obligation once you reach a certain point. Would you want to check unwrapped baggage when 80% of the other bags are wrapped?
kerouac is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 10:00 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 877
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I still don't understand how it gets through security. If TSA wants to open your bags, they still have the right to do so, right???
CYESQ is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 10:03 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,519
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, right. In the 90s, they would cut through the wrap. The other theft prevention measure was to put a numerical lock on the luggage and the US customs would either cut the lock off or just cut through the suitcase.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 10:37 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,268
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"I still don't understand how it gets through security."

Most of the world's travellers have better things to do with their time than visit the United States.

And no developed country shares America's disgraceful record of airline security. So no other country has overreacted as spectacularly. If UK Customs have a worry about my arriving baggage, modern technology allows them to inspect it without ripping it apart.
flanneruk is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 10:51 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 26,778
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i>It's also a definite magnet for the TSA, and will not make it through US Customs.</i>

I have taken items wrapped in plastic wrap through US Customs without a problem. Indeed, I find that US Customs is not overly aggressive in asking for physical inspections of baggage.

<i>I still don't understand how it gets through security. If TSA wants to open your bags, they still have the right to do so, right???</i>

Yes, security personnel in many countries can go through your baggage. Thankfully, taking off the plastic wrap is a simple matter. If it were terribly difficult, wouldn't folks have trouble taking it off when they reached their destination?

flanner - Do you actually believe the stuff you spout? Because, I have to tell you, you don't seem to know what you are talking about.
travelgourmet is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 11:09 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Which other country wants you to leave luggage unlocked or use a "magic" lock?
alanRow is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2011, 11:19 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 26,778
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i>Which other country wants you to leave luggage unlocked or use a "magic" lock?</i>

You are free to use non-TSA locks in the US. As in virtually every other country, however, this means that the lock is subject to being cut off or the bag opened by other means, should authorities seek to search your bag, when not in your presence.

The better question is whether there are any countries where authorities are not permitted to open locked bags. I suspect that the list of such countries would be exceedingly small.
travelgourmet is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2011, 04:37 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Those little locks are false security...have a look at this youtube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf-DGKUNffI
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2011, 04:28 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 86
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, everyone, for all the info. Very interesting. Didn't mean to start a national security discussion...

Happy travels to all - Saran-wrapped or not!
chucktown_dobbs is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2011, 11:42 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 23,798
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
I would assume that security is not necessarily the only reason for the plastic wrap. Anybody who has flown to India or other such countries during a monsoon downpour and seen how inadequate the little tarp that they slowly pull over the baggage wagons is might want to invest in a little extra plastic.
kerouac is offline  
Old Jun 16th, 2011, 02:31 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 393
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would have thought that people were wrapping their bags to protect against bed bugs.
DaveJJ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -