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Luggage pilfering and damage?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by vadsoom, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. vadsoom

    vadsoom Loaded Pockets

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    :mad: In a recent business trip, I left my checked luggage unlocked, per TSA regulations and even went so far as to tell the agent that my Leatherman Charge was clipped into the front pocket with a sturdy gate snap. When I got to my destination, the pocket was zipped closed, the gate snap intact, but no Leatherman tool. It was clear to me (and the airline baggage representatives) that the tool had been stolen by baggage. I can't tell you how upsetting this is! I declared it to the airline and filled out some forms, but have to wait for them to "decide" if they will reimburse me for my loss.

    It seems ridiculous that I paid them top dollar (about $1300) to transport me from one point to another, they stole my belongings and I have to fill out the paperwork and wait for them to respond. Simply crappy service.

    Several years ago (before the ban) I had the same experience with a butane soldering iron and have also experienced the complete destruction of my luggage and a smashed oscilloscope. In the Philippines, my luggage zippers were “worked open” and half of the bag contents were pilfered.

    On the other hand, I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of air miles during my career and, surprisingly, have had only a few incidences of poor baggage handling, damage, loss or theft. I’ve had lots of bags misrouted or delayed, but have always received them eventually.

    So, should I be grateful or angry? What do you think?

    I’d like to hear your experiences. Please chime in.
     
  2. Codeman

    Codeman Loaded Pockets

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    Both! Grateful it hasn't happened more often, angry that it did happen.

    With post-9/11 restrictions for carry-on, our choices have been limited. I always used to put anything I valued in carry-on.

    I wish I had an answer for you. After 250k miles myself, I've only had a single lost bag, and it was a routing error. I got it back in a couple of days.

    Now, I'd use TSA locks. They may not provide any real security, but they do put the blame on the airline when something goes missing. I'd also stick things in out of the way places - wrapped in underwear, so they aren't readily visible on inspection. If might not deter them, but it at least they'd have to work harder for it, meaning more time, which just might cause them to be spotted. Yeah, that's a long shot...

    Anything of real value that can't be carried on, I'd at least consider sending through an insured shipper. It's not as convenient, and will run into some costs over time, but at least there's some peace of mind.
     
  3. brix

    brix Loaded Pockets

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    I too am lucky that this has not happened to me. I also use TSA locks and put my gear in Pelican Boxes under in the middle of my clothes which makes it that much harder to get to without purposely going through my stuff. I also like to take pictures of my stuff before I lock it up so that it helps when I have to file a claim. I am traveling to the Philippines in Jan so it looks like I have to make sure that the gear I bring either is carry-on or something that I will not mind loosing.

    When traveling with more expensive gear it might be a good idea to have it sent to your next destination via FedEx, which will allow you to get it insured. Most hotels will hold packages for you until you arrive.

    Thanks for sharing
     
  4. Phaeton

    Phaeton Empty Pockets

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    Sorry you got ripped. I do not know of any good solution. I think using a TSA approved lock might provide some small amount of additional security. At least it will prevent the quick reach in and grab. Can we assume that every baggage handler does not have their own TSA key by now? I don't know.

    The only advice I can offer is what I have started doing since we no longer can carry on our EDC items. I put my knives and multitool in my toiletries kit. They go in there with a bunch of other small, randomly shaped items. It is also another level of closure that would have to be opened. I guess the deeper you can bury something, the better your chances of arriving with your gear intact.

    I no longer travel with expensive or personally special pieces. I try to limit my carry to items that are economically and emotionally replaceable.

    Mark
     
  5. temujin

    temujin Uber Prepared

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    Has this worked for you? I never tried, figuring they'd be on the hunt for that deadly >3-oz. bottle of shampoo and being the sharp guardians of homeland security, they'd figure that shampoo might be in a toiletries kit.

    :lolhammer:
     
  6. Mark123

    Mark123 Empty Pockets

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    Sorry about your loss. :mad:

    Considering the millions who fly every year, these are, of course, isolated, rare incidents.

    The way I keep my sanity is I mentally separate the "no lose" items (passport/ID, etc...) versus the items that would be an inconvenience or pain to lose. Meaning I assume some risk and don't become obsessive about these things.
     
  7. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    I don't travel by commercial aircraft that often anymore. When I do, I carry items that are quality enough to do the job, but won't be sorely missed if they just happen to "grow legs."

    It is an annoyance that I have accepted in this millennium.

    I highly suspect that travel to any third world country will have additional pitfalls.

    Sorry about your loss.
     
  8. Lugsalot

    Lugsalot EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    As if traveling wasn't enough of a pain already! :rant:

    I don't travel by air much at all...perhaps once every few years or so. Things like this make me disinclined to get on a plane.

    You spent $1300.00 on a trip that required you to check your personal belongings, and at some point your belongings were stolen. For them to do nothing about this is basically them saying "We don't care about our customers. We encourage our employees to steal anything they can get their hands on."

    I think you ought to stay angry and keep at these goons until they reimburse you for your loss. If they refuse, there must be a third party who can hound them for you. Is there some organization that people can appeal to in situations like these?

    This is a good idea. I'll follow this advice as much as I can next time I have to fly anywhere.

    Expect it, but don't accept it. If a big enough fuss is made about stuff like this, airlines will have to fix the problem or suffer a loss of business. If an airline employee stole something from me and I could prove it, I'd take great pleasure in seeing that person get canned. I'd also strongly suggest that the airline in question treat me like royalty to avoid a lawsuit.
     
  9. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    I thought about using a Pelican 1200 or 1400 case and using small-diameter braided cable to attach my EDC items TO the case so that TSA can inspect them, but would be prohibitively difficult to separate them from the case. Additionally, photographing the case with it's contents and preparing a written description by line item and include them in the case for inventory before and after the flight might be a good way to control those items.
     
  10. Lugsalot

    Lugsalot EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Those are really good ideas.

    I'd like to know if there's a way to get the name and work phone number of a baggage claim shift-supervisor (or equivalent) before departing. It might make tracking down the culprit a bit easier if you can call their boss and chew him out for allowing his minions to rob customers. :spank:

    It really burns me that passengers are required to submit to ridiculous invasions of privacy when traveling by air, while the airlines have set up a pretty good system for any thieves they happen to have on their payroll. In the event that something is stolen, the passenger has to fight through the airline's bureaucracy in order to achieve any kind of satisfaction! :brickwall:

    If ever there was an institution that required more transparency, this is it. :police:
     
  11. Onedzguy

    Onedzguy Empty Pockets

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    Sorry to hear that you got ripped off. I have always counted on my hard shell Samsonite luggage. If TSA wanted to open the locks on my luggage, I would always show him the combination numbers on a very small slip of paper. And I always asked for that paper back and visually check the locks before the ticket agent tags the luggage. My hard shell has a warped axle wheel on the left side of the luggage and several deep gashes on both sides. Gotta love Samsonite for this one.
     
  12. jonny8642

    jonny8642 Loaded Pockets

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    Sorry about your loss :mad:, but I ran into a similar situations with one of my spydercos and my leather man squirt with wire strippers instead of pliers. The only issue I ever had with my Oscilloscope, was when I decided to carry it on, a TSA agent took it not doing their usual asking who's it was, and when I asked them what they were doing, they told me they were going to confiscate it saying that they didn't know what it was because of the battery and they need to do a further inspection, even though the battery wasn't in it. But I am in the same boat as you I have logged tons of miles with my work. But I have only had four major incidences with my luggage. But what are you going to do :shrug:
     
  13. karlito

    karlito Loaded Pockets

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    Unfortunately it may not have been the baggage handlers at all. I remember watching a news expose about buggage pilfering, hidden camera and all, BY THE TSA ! :rant: It is such a shame when those who are suppose to "protect " us take advantage of their positions for their own gain.
     
  14. Lugsalot

    Lugsalot EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Wow, it's like the ending to a really cheesy police-drama, where the stubborn, jaded, cynical protagonist discovers that he's basically the only cop in the city who isn't corrupt. This is probably after his plucky rookie partner's been killed as well, so then he flies off the rails and takes down the crime-syndicate and the entire crooked police department in a climactic showdown. I think the villain gets killed in some ironic way while making a long-winded, presumptuous victory speech, and then the hero mutters a dry one-liner in a tired rasp just before the credits roll.

    Hmmm...maybe an advocacy group isn't what we need at all, but rather some kind of over-the-top, summer-blockbuster-style vigilante justice...with lots of pyrotechnics! :cool:

    ...

    Seriously, the TSA are a bunch of redundant jerks who can't even provide the illusion of safety, let alone the real thing. In my personal interpretation of heaven, these people are taken out of the line and subjected to every humiliating inconvenience imaginable, for everyone's safety, of course! After all that, the lake of fire awaits! :evilgrin:
     
  15. rik

    rik Loaded Pockets

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    Unfortunately, it's not the airline's problem, really. The baggage handlers are a separate company, and likewise there's the TSA. We're required to check our luggage in, not allowed anything sharp or liquid or.. point is, anything of any value aside from a camera goes into checked luggage, and as far as we can tell, there's no real guarentee that it's coming out the other side, or if it does come out, whether it's been destroyed for us.

    There's a possibiltiy that I'm going to end up flying btween two locations on a regular basis, and my soilution here is to go through my EDC, and store a copy of it at each place I'm at. Don't fly with it, but have it at the other end. Applying this to vadsoom's issue - I'd lay down requirements on the places you're visiting to have the equipment ready for you when you arrive, rentable at a distinctly reasonable rate from your emplyer - ie, about the cost to fedex stuff over and back again. Discuss this with your employer - see if they value the revenue stream of Fedex versus the cost of replacing items. Remember to put in a "misc engineer's items" space into the box, so that you have space to put in anything you want to travel with fedex in a box that's already going.
     
  16. jemhouston

    jemhouston Loaded Pockets

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    If you're flying between two places on a regular basis, are you staying in the hotel / motel every time? If you are, check there to see about storing items there. I know some high end motels offer such services. I wouldn't store anything too valuable or big, but a small kit might make it.
     
  17. Crocodilo

    Crocodilo Loaded Pockets

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    I've had some items stolen before, but everytime this has happened has been whenever I went through Amsterdam Schipooll(spelling) Airport. Leathermans and pocket knives on checked luggage. Other times I just noticed someone had gone through my bags and "rearranged" stuff...
     
  18. riprater

    riprater Loaded Pockets

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    One option is to take a big beefy zip tie and secure it (knife, multi tool, etc) to the rails inside the luggage. When you arrive, take a pair of nail clippers to remove the zip tie. Not fool proof, but makes it a little bit more difficult for it to grow legs while still being available for inspection and not accidentally being re-packed back in to your luggage...
     
  19. Stutoffee

    Stutoffee Loaded Pockets

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    To be honest, Im horrified that these invasions of privacy occur in the name of so-called security.
    We, (in the UK) may have lost many freedoms (ownership of firearms, the ludicrous knife laws, the ever-present CCTV cameras etc) but my case is locked with a combination lock & numbered security seal & on my many trips overseas (mostly to Spain & Greece to visit "the missus" 5-6 times a year!) my case has never, EVER been opened. Not even by Customs at the Airport when I return home.

    It also seems a joke that these TSA numpties get to call themselves "Federal Agents!"
     
  20. Lunal_Tic

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

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    The TSA are supposed to leave a note in your bag telling if they've been through it but there are also TSA approved locks now that can tell you if they've been opened with the TSA master keys. Unfortunately both the TSA and airlines try to put the blame on each other so chasing down and getting compensation is difficult at best. All that still doesn't help when you arrive at your destination with out the items you need or even worse if it was something of sentimental value that can't be replaced.

    I've even run into TSA agents that have told me that they don't have to tell us their name if we want to file a complaint so I guess we are left to offer a physical description and a location only of the incident.

    -LT