Home TIPS Airport security: Keep your eyes on valuables
Airport security: Keep your eyes on valuables PDF Print E-mail

We continue to hear the sensational stories of airport security guards groping and doing all kinds of other bothersome things to airline passengers. Another question we have about them: Are they honest about passenger property? The reality is, just like cops, firemen, taxi drivers and the rest of us, the great majority of the TSA screeners do their jobs with total honesty.

However, where there’s temptation to steal, it can happen at the airport, mall, school locker room or anywhere else. There's a recent report about a TSA airport screener who was caught stuffing stolen jewelry, cell phones and other small electronics into his pants, while clueless passengers failed to notice anything missing. This should give all air travelers a wake-up call about how to prevent it.

The guy was reported to have made more than $50,000 on Ebay selling the stuff within just six months. That means a lot of travelers helped him succeed by not taking simple precautions and keeping their eyes open.  

For experienced business flyers, these hints should already be automatic in protecting possessions. For the infrequent vacationer, it’s worth reviewing before you hit that next airport security line.

Eyeball your valuables: Keep all electronics gear on your person or within your sight when it enters the x-ray line and where it exits.

Zip it up: If you’re required to put electronics gear, jewelry and other valuables on the conveyor belt, zip them into large briefcases or coat pockets. The items most frequently stolen are in open sight of the screener and other passengers, and easy to snatch and stash quickly.

Make it buddy security: If two of you put gear to go through the conveyor belt, hold back one set for a moment. Then, one goes ahead and closely watches from the end of the belt.  

Report anything missing: After the screening, check all of your gear closely for signs of theft. If anything is missing, demand to see a supervisor immediately.

Don't check luggage: Travelers don’t only lose things when going through security. Since airline travel began, checking luggage has always been a gamble. Once your checked luggage is out of your sight, anyone can go through it until you claim it at your destination.Whenever possible,  travel with a wheeled carry-on, plus when necessary, an over-the-shoulder bag or knapsack.

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