6 Ways to Prevent In-Flight Theft
In 2014, officials estimate that more than $300,000 (USD) worth of items were stolen on inbound flights to Hong Kong in 48 separate incidents..
That’s not at airport lounges, airport gates, or luggage carousels—that’s on the actual airplane itself.
It’s easy for even the savviest of travelers to feel lulled into a false sense of security on an airplane. Thieves are probably the last thing on your mind as you settle in for a movie marathon or to catch a little shut eye as you power up for the adventures that await you.
As recent news events have highlighted (and it’s not just in Hong Kong), you shouldn’t mistake the plane for your own personal vehicle. In-flight theft is a problem, and travelers are wise to take some precautionary steps to protect their gear.
After all, if you’re following your airline’s advice, you’re most likely carrying your electronics and valuables in your carry-on and not in your checked bag—and what about your passport and cash? It’s a thief’s dream stash of loot, and if you’re distracted by a movie or nodding off in your seat, then you’ve got a big target on your back.
So what’s the solution—surely you can’t be on high alert for a 15 and a half hour flight across the Pacific! Your best line of defense is to make it as hard as possible for thieves to steal your stuff. Here’s how to do it.
Keep Your Valuables Close
It’s relatively easy for a thief to rummage through your carry-on if it’s stashed overhead, but it’s a lot harder for them to fish through your pocket or try to weasel their way through the bag that’s resting under your feet. Leave the not-so-valuable stuff in the overhead, and keep your most precious or valuable items as close to yourself as possible, so you can keep an eye on it at all times.
Lock It Down
Throw thieves off by securing your bags to a fixed feature, like your seat. PacSafe’s turn and lock security allows you to easily hook your bag to an object that is fixed in place, and a quick turn of the mechanism locks the bag securely. This will help thwart any thief looking to discretely slip your bag away.
Bury That Treasure
Thieves are looking for something easy to snatch. If you place your passport and the bottom of your bag or stash your wallet underneath a bunch of other stuff in your purse, you’re making it harder for them to simply pluck it out with ease.
Zip It Up
Prevent nosy pickpocketers from rifling through your bags by keeping your zippers locked up. Interlocking zip pullers are a clever way to keep your zipper pulls clinging together, making it challenging for a thief hoping to subtly root through your bag. Take it one step further by pairing it with the Roobar™ locking system, which combines several locking and safety features that will help keep your back tightly closed. Both the interlocking zip pullers and the Roobar™ locking system are available on PacSafe products.
Smart zipper security is another mechanism that can be used to keep your zipper pulls under lock. Remember, thieves are often looking for a quick and easy steal—throwing obstacles their way will make it harder for them to make a stealthy getaway.
Backwards in the Overhead
You’ll probably have to stash some stuff in the overhead compartment. You can make it a little trickier for thieves to be covert by placing your carry-on strategically. Place your suitcase upside down (as in wheels facing up), and ensure that the opening is facing towards the back of the overhead compartment, not right at the front. Thieves will have to flip and rotate your suitcase to get inside of it, and that might required a little more effort than they’re prepared for.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
As much as is possible, stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you. Keep important items where you can see them, and if you notice someone messing around with another person’s stuff while they’re sleeping or otherwise distracted, give the flight attendant a head’s up.
Magee Walker was a late bloomer to the snowboard scene, but thankfully discovered the joys of the sport after moving to Vancouver and spending weekends in Whistler. She’s now lucky enough to call Whistler her full-time home and spends her days conquering the mountain, by foot in the summer and by snowboard boot in the winter.