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Thanks to my extensive travels, I have plenty of advice for travelers. One of my best tips is not to check a bag for numerous reasons, including the risk of theft. The video below only underscores my point. RELATED: Subscribe to my daily travel tip newsletter for tips and tricks that will make your travels smoother.
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Theft can occur on airplanes (here’s how to prevent it) but when it occurs in airports, it’s not usually so out in the open like what this bold and brazen man did. The pandemic seems to have changed most people’s tolerance levels, including those of the police, which is just nuts. My view is: If you commit a crime, you do the time.
This alleged thief can be seen rummaging through passengers’ checked luggage at a baggage carousel in Miami International Airport (MIA) and trying on pants and shoes. When my wife first saw the video, she found it so outrageous, she thought it was fake but I don’t think so.
I’ve been to or through MIA dozens of times including just a few days ago and we checked not one but three bags. I’ve never seen anything like this video at MIA or any other airport in the U.S. or around the world … and I’ve been to hundreds.
When luggage theft happens, it’s often an inside job by baggage handlers behind the scenes. But I’ve joked in the past if I was desperate and needed clothes, I would just go to an airport and grab a bag lying around the carrousel. Some are there for hours or days if the bag was sent to the wrong airport or the passenger missed a connection.
In the “old” days, airlines used to have a dedicated worker matching airline bag tags and stubs at the exit before one could leave. But that stopped years ago when airlines started only caring about making money.
Seasoned travelers know not to check a bag since it adds so much extra time to your travel day on both ends of the trip since you have to get to the airport extra early to check it and worst, wait around for it to come out. On our Air Canada flight from LAX to Toronto last week, our bags took 45 minutes. We thought that was a win because the last time we flew Air Canada, it took double. Ninety minutes to wait for a bag is torture, especially when you have little kids but even if you don’t.
On our American Airlines flight from Toronto to Miami, our bags took even longer and if you ask my wife and kids what was by far the worst part of our trip, they’d say it was that. It would have been even worse if someone had stolen stuff from them.
This is why I always tell travelers: If you’re checking a bag, make sure you go straight to baggage claim to make sure no one walks off with it. Oftentimes it’s a mistake, especially if your bag is black (I’ve done it).
We now travel with colorful luggage by Roam, which we created so no one else would have our color combinations (there’s a million different options) and it also helps spot your luggage from afar so you don’t need to hover around the carousel with so many people.
Of course, you don’t have to buy expensive luggage. You can just buy a suitcase cover, paint your bag or use a colourful strap. I also recommend popping an Apple AirTag in the bag and downloading your airline’s app. This way, you can track your bag’s progress from the plane to carousel. NOTE: Last week was the first time my AirTag and AA’s app both failed me. Neither updated, which is why you still need to hang around the baggage carousel.
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