Theft from Check-in Baggage – How much worse can it get?

An experience that I would want all readers to take a note of –

Person X took an Air Sahara flight from Delhi to Bangalore. Of the checked-in bags, one had a pouch which contained a couple of gold earrings, and other such items. Landed in Bangalore, took the luggage home, realized it a few hours later that the earrings and several other (expensive looking) items were gone. Stolen in transit. Stolen! Between the time she checked the bag in and the time she got it back

She decided to write an application to Air Sahara, with a copy to Airport Authorities –

1. Air Sahara officials – Its the passenger’s responsibility to declare all items of note in the checked in baggage. So, where do you tell the guys about this? Is there a  form? No! Passengers are supposed to know all this. We don’t have any displayed information on this anywhere. But the baggage was in your custody? A lot of people handle the baggage. We are not responsible for anyone’s baggage and the contents. Well.. who is responsible in that case? The passengers are responsible! See. You are wasting your time. Nothing is going to happen. we cannot do anything. 

2. Airport Authority –  Well.. its the airline’s responsibility. We cannot do anything about it. And (hush hush) you won’t get anything back unless some big police guy is talking on your behalf. These airlines people would not do anything. 

 Anyway, frustrated she submitted a complaint (in their format, because they don’t accept free flowing texts of insinuation written by some street side moron) and got an acknowledgement.

 

Duh! Not gonna help I tell ya!

Questions in my mind –
1. If you take my baggage away from me, and very  un-subtly  put a plastic strap lock/sticker  on it to mark the bag as security checked -ready to go, why is it not your responsibility if something is stolen? How do I keep an eye on my bag from that point on?

2. Who are you to decide what a precious thing is. A simple notebook/diary can be extremely precious. How do I attach a monetary value to it? Hence, how do I declare it before flying?

3. If you are not responsible for anything, why don’t you keep the declaration forms handy? Just as an aside, I know of people who had extremely precious zippo lighters taken away from them at the airport (because, of course, you cannot carry it with you in the craft), and not returned at the next airport, very conveniently, because airlines are not responsible for any goddamn thing!

4. For me, my vests and underwears can be as precious as the Armani shirt, or the Versace trouser, or the gold earring. In fact, a gold earring can be a few thousand bucks, and so is a trouser. Do you really want me to declare the number of shirts and trousers in my bad every time I travel with you?

5. Even if you are not in position to recover the articles stolen, can you still look into the credibility of the staff you have hired? Or, is it a norm for airlines to have thieves in their ground staff ?

6. If it is not the responsibility of the Airport Authorities to make the Airlines tow the line properly, whose responsibility is it?

7. Is there a way we can throw this at the media? I am sure covering a little some more about how bad the Indian Aviation Sector has become would be of interest to the larger masses.

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About Amit
Conventional, boring, believer, poet, Shayar (to be precise), lover of music, musical instruments, and all that can be called music (theoretically or metaphorically), jack of all master of none, more of a reader less of a writer, arbit philosopher, foolish debater.. and many more such things.. like so many people!

4 Responses to Theft from Check-in Baggage – How much worse can it get?

  1. Amit says:

    Surya – Thats a weird way of paying back! 🙂 But yes.. not checking in anything valuable means that you may end up paying extra weight charges! 🙂

    @Curiouscat – well..baggage loss is a diff thing I would say.. Airlines seem to be doing it all the time! 🙂 and they end up recovering it most mof the time.. and there are processes set up.. Thefts..no process whatsoever!

  2. curiouscat says:

    Happened to me once too. The airline lost my bag on a trip from Amsterdam to Madras. I got it a couple of days later, without all the electronics it had…cd player, camera etc. But at the time I wrote it off as a one time thing that happened because it was a lost baggage…

  3. Surya says:

    I feel the pain. Had the same experience abt a year back.
    They agreed to reimburse on the basis of difference of weight when the bag was checked in and when I received it back. Was nothing, since I had lost a watch and some other light-weight precious stuff. And the solution, apparently is, not to check-in anything valuable!

  4. Pingback: DesiPundit » Archives » Theft from check-in baggage

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