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10 November 2009

Laptop and Other Items Stolen During an International Flight

This complaint was sent in by A.C. in early October 2009, about a baggage security issue on an international flight:

I traveled from Boston to Bangalore by Lufthansa flight Flight LH 0421 (Boston-Frankfurt) and Flight LH 0754 (Frankfurt - Bangalore). I checked my baggage in Boston on October 7th 2009 and collected it in Bangalore international airport upon arrival. My baggage has been opened and items from my baggage were pilfered and stolen.

Now it seems no one wants to accept responsibility for this theft. Since everyone claims to not be liable it is apparently acceptable if employees help themselves since no one has to be held accountable. How is that right? Someone needs to make restitution for these items.

I'll never feel safe leaving my luggage in the hands of airlines again. They should be held responsible to refund full face value of any items stolen. This person had enough time to go through and decide what he needs and only took the right things. So much for airline security!!! It seems to be a free for all at travelers expense.
One would think an airport has thousands of security cameras in it, someone should be able to determine what happened. Who has access to these cameras? So if they can take items undetected from luggage that means they can also place items in. So how is that secure? Your bags could be transporting who knows what from point A to point B and you would never know. Responds
This passenger brought up two general issues, flight security and airline responsibility for lost and stolen items, implies two other issues, the role of the airport and the passenger's role in protecting a passenger's property.

Flight Security
While the passenger's baggage was opened at some point of the trip, it was not clear that it happened at the departure airport, the transfer airport, or the destination airport. We suggest contacting the TSA Claims Management Branch, and following their procedure. You can also contact the TSA at 866-289-9673 or to report specific violations and concerns about security. has no equivalent contact information for Germany (Frankfurt) or India Bangalore).

Airline and Airport Responsibility
Because the thefts may be by airline or airport staff or their contractors, you should contact the airlines you used, and representatives of the airports where your baggage traveled, and file the appropriate reports. For information on what compensation you can get for baggage issues on international flights, visit's main baggage page.

Passenger Responsibility

This passenger's experience is very similar to the article about the airline losing a bag with keys inside.'s response is virtually the same. If you fly often enough with checked bags, eventually you will have one lost, delayed, or stolen, so prepare for that possibility when you pack. recommends that some things should never go in checked luggage, and should always stay with you in a carry-on bag. The kinds of things you should not put in checked bags include medicine, computers, electronic files, legal documents; credit cards, checks, or other financial documents; cash, jewelry, keys, and items of great sentimental value.

In many cases, airlines may not provide compensation for some types of valuables. Cash and jewelry are two examples. Also, it is very unlikely that a passenger would get compensation for the value of any lost data on the laptop.

Additional Advice
Baggage Basics for Checked and Carry-on Items
Carry-on Baggage Advice
Top 10 Baggage Tips
Top Ten Tips for Dealing with Security


  1. There are some employees at BLR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai airports that help themselves and in fact, they are aided by gov/customs officials - this is all too common in India. When I say all too common, it doesn't mean it happens 99% of the time but if they know/see that you have valuable electronics in your checked-in luggage, there is a good 10% chance you won't see those electronics anymore.

  2. I had kept my handbag for security check and inside a wallet contained cash of Rs.5000/ . When I picked up my handbag at that time I was not aware that my whole wallet went stolen by security personnel at bangalore international airport. Lodged a complaint but how long it is fruitful god only knows. The one who gives security themselves are thieves ,what can we expect? Be aware all the passengers who are travelling by bangalore international airport never trust security personnel.