With the holidays on our heels, attention turns not just to long flights, crowded airports, and cramped airplanes, but the security of your luggage. Stories of suitcases going missing and larcenous Transportation Security Agency agents pilfering your goods while you’re not looking abound throughout most of the year, though one can only imagine how much the numbers spike during the holiday season. Long lines, tons of people, and so much going on make the possibility of luggage theft all the greater during this time of year, so you have to be on the lookout.
One of the main causes of theft at the airport is TSA agents and baggage handlers. So the best thing you can do to secure your luggage is to properly lock it. While never checking your baggage is the best way to go, a simple combination or a key-based lock will help increase the security of your luggage and prevent people from simply opening it up and stealing anything inside. In some instances the TSA has to cut the lock to perform “random bag checks,” so if this happens you should immediately inspect the contents to make sure nothing was stolen.
You should also be wary of where your bag is at all times. While it’s often necessary to let it out of your sight - such as when it goes through the x-ray - you should always keep your luggage with you and never step away from it. Not only will an unattended piece of luggage arouse suspicion, simply turning away for a few seconds to talk to someone or grab a bite to eat can result in a disappearing bag. Given how busy airports are, it’s really easy for a thief to wait until the right moment to spring into action.
If traveling with someone, always have them look after your bags if you need to step away for a minute. While it might seem like a good idea to take your luggage into the restroom, it’s rather difficult to chase a thief when you’re in the middle of urinating. This could give them enough time to sneakily grab your bag and head out the door into a safe area before you even get a glimpse of his face. It’s unlikely, of course, but better safe than sorry. Two sets of eyes are better than one, especially in a bustling airport.
Finally, if you’re incredibly wary of thieves in the airport, boxing up your luggage and shipping it to your intended destination is the best way to go. Although it’s still possible for someone to steal it, it’s a lot less likely, and the addition of a tracking number allows you to follow it to its destination.