Will you be locking your checked luggage?

Another reason to pity poor Lola is that, being a NYCer, she’s probably flying in and out of JFK airport – which should stand for Just Filchers & Kleptomaniacs.

I’m appalled at how year after year they let the baggage handlers get away with the thievery that they do at JFK. What a racket.

Well, I’m checking into Travel Guard insurance. There is an annual policy for frequent traveling. I don’t know if this will work or how good they are at reimbursing for lost/damaged/stolen items.

I have friends who worked at various jobs at JFK. They were all (allegedly!) honest, but had lots of stories of all the crap that goes on by many employees. I think the public would be shocked if they knew more about this (and not just JFK employees).

I also wonder why there isn’t more emphasis on security for employees, especially those with access to planes (for instance, one friend worked for Sky Chefs, and could get onto planes with no problem).

If I have to check anything, I just use a heavy-duty tie wraps to lock both zippers together on the main compartment. I keep extra ones in the pocket in case I should need to re-attach one. If you have hard-side luggage with latches, I guess this wouldn’t work.

Most of my so-called luggage consists of duffel bags and back packs, so it’s not even an issue for me.

What Lola and I meant was that your luggage is locked to prevent theft. It is just hand-searched first, then you put your locks on and then the big ugly stickers would be to tell security “Don’t worry guys. No need ot cut off the locks. This one’s been checked out quite thoroughly.”

Right now they are suggesting that people use the plastic cable ties so that security can cut them off and replace them. Great, so a thieving luggage handler can just snip them off.

Been there, done that, never recovered my stuff or got any kind of compensation.

I assume we’re talking about domestic air travel here, as international bags have always been randomly opened.

A mate of mine is a baggage handler for Qantas, and he tells me that the Customs blokes take one look at the particular brand of flimsy padlock on your luggage, and after years of experience they know which of their huge bunch of keys to grab to open it. They never smash the locks. On the very rare occasion a lock stumps them, they will have the passenger paged over the loudspeaker system to come and open it for them.

Personally, I like the system they use at Bangkok International, where the check-in counters are in a secure area, and you have to put all your luggage (carry-on, and stuff you intend to check) through the X-Ray machine. If they want to open it, you’re right there with them, and if they don’t, they put a security seal around your bag. This also makes it less likely that the airline staff will pilfer anything.

If you definitely want your checked bag searched, put a jar of peanut butter, a bar of chocolate or a wedge of cheese in the bag.

The sniffer will detect it as a naughty item and it will be searched.

So says an NBC News report from last night.

I am never getting on an airplane again. Between the idea of being bodily searched and having to choose between my luggage getting broken into to be searched for weapons or my luggage getting broken into to be searched for valuables, I would rather walk.

I always lock my luggage and these Airport Security Assholes aren’t changing my mind. I have never had things stolen, but I am not taken the chance.

I flew recently from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Baltimore, I had a connecting flight in Atlanta. They flagged me, my Checked Luggage, Carry-On Luggage and my Purse, searched everything in both Airports.

I unlocked my Suitcase they checked to make sure I didn’t have any exploding underwear, had to repack - I had a breakable item that had to be buffered. Then re-locked my suitcase.

Then they checked my Carry-On Luggage (it has two compartments which one was locked), and Purse - I packed my stuff a certain way, they just throw it in anyway they want to.
I go, give me a minute to re-pack my stuff, like I like it, then you can search my person, hat and coat - with either X-ray or wand.

I was prepared for the X-ray/wand search and the ?'s did you pack your luggage, and have you had possesion of you luggage at all times, have you been asked by anyone you don’t know to take care of our handle something not yours. I was prepared for that, I flew a couple months after 9/11, but the 3rd degree search, I was not prepared for, and a little insulted that I would be treated like that.

A note of caution: you can use cable ties to “lock” your luggage, you know, the plastic things that make a little loop and lock tight when you pull the free end through, like the police use when they’re arresting a bunch of rioters/demonstrators, and don’t have enough handcuffs.

But, you’ll find that they’re fairly difficult to cut off - you’ll need a fairly tough little set of nippers. Now, where do you pack the cutters? If you put them in the checked suitcase, you’re obviously screwed. But if you try to carry them on, they might be deemed “potential weapons,” and be taken away from you!

This was before 911 during a trip from san fran to toronto, my luggage was bent open in a corner. They obviously took apart the stitching and bent the corner open to inspect something. At the risk of having my luggage damaged again, I’ll just use cable ties and not locks if that’s what they require now.