Auto Draft

Read us | Listen to us | Watch us | Join Live Events | Turn Off Ads | Live |

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu

Airline employee: Co-workers often pillage luggage

0c_62
0c_62
Avatar
Written by editor

Though airline ticket prices are dropping, passengers may be paying in other ways.

Though airline ticket prices are dropping, passengers may be paying in other ways.

Thousands of passengers file complaints with the Transportation Safety Administration each year claiming that items have been stolen out of their checked luggage.

Now one airline employee has come forward to say the thieves are actually her co-workers.

A Continental Airlines employee in Houston talked to ABC News affiliate KTRK on the condition that her identity be disguised.

The woman said she has seen fellow employees rifle through bags at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, saying that while security is tight at check-in, luggage isn’t nearly as safe once it’s moved to a loading area .

“It happens every day. It’s very often that we may run across Continental guys going through their [passengers’] luggage,” she said. “They run everything tightly up at the top, but poorly at the bottom.”

ABC News asked Continental about the employee’s accusations. In a statement it said, “Thefts from baggage are extremely rare. We have active security operations at airports including IAH [Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport]. We assist law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting theft cases when they arise.”

But Houston teacher Madeline Hartwell said her bags were pilfered a few weeks ago at the Houston airport, but on a different airline. She says souvenirs she packed in her bag in England never made it home.

“I had added extra tissue in between. The bags were there, but the items were gone. My concern is that something is going on. There is theft from within,” Hartwell said.

An undercover video, shot three years ago by ABC News affiliate KNXV and police at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, shows what police say is happening more often — unsupervised baggage handlers rummaging through luggage, then hiding stolen items in their pockets.

“If I was to fly a flight with Continental, those are the things that I will be thinking about,” said the Houston employee.

Two weeks ago police at Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport broke up a massive theft ring. Eight baggage handlers allegedly stole 900 items from passengers’ bags — everything from laptops and cameras to cigarettes and cologne.

“They were stashing stuff and then when they left were carrying it out in their coats or fanny packs or backpacks,” Lambert Police Chief Paul Mason said.

In Hartford, Conn., last month, state troopers arrested 11 people who worked at Bradley Airport for stealing from bags being unloaded from flights.

Police said the thefts had been taking place for years.

Those recent arrests are little consolation for travelers like Hartwell.

“All those security measures were taken for us, what security did we have for our bags?”

The Houston Continental employee says if she flies, she makes sure to carry anything valuable on the plane with her. Experts say the best place may be in your coat pocket or in a small bag that you can watch, even when it goes through security conveyer belts.