Avoiding Theft On an Airplane

By ebonytravelers | Sep 27, 2021

Most travelers never stop to think of having their items stolen on board an airplane. I recently took a women's safety awareness class. The one thing that stood out to me is that most crimes are crimes of opportunity. Although theft on the airplane is rare, it does occur. In most cases, the person never realizes that they were victims until after the flight. Unfortunately, flight crews can do very little if it happens in flight unless the person is caught red-handed. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when traveling to prevent your items from being stolen on the airplane.

Place luggage across from your seat


Many travelers like to place their carry-on luggage directly above their seats. When you are seated on an aisle seat, you can usually see what happens when someone goes into the overhead bin. However, when you are sitting in a middle or window seat, you cannot see your luggage if it is directly overhead. Your items can be stolen right before you without you knowing it has happened. When you place your luggage across from your seat, you will always see it and anyone that handles it.

Lock your carry-on


Travelers assume that they only must secure their checked luggage, and I would advise that you lock and protect your carry-on luggage as well. Remember that overhead bin space is shared space, and there is no guarantee that you will be able to stow your carry-on items at or near your seat. On most crowded flights, especially during holidays, overhead bin space gets full very quickly.

Make your bag easily identifiable


Many bags look alike, and some dishonest travelers take advantage of that fact. If caught, their excuse is that they thought it was their bag. Place something on your bag that makes it easily identifiable, like a brightly colored ribbon, sticker, or bag tag. Anything that differentiates your luggage will discredit the excuse of unintentional handling of your carry-on luggage.

Stow your valuables well


Many people like to have their wallets or purses at hand. Unfortunately, this can be a perfect crime of opportunity for a fellow traveler. Once you are on board an airplane, there is no need to have your purse or wallet out. Most airlines now are cashless, so having a single credit card accessible is enough for most travelers.

Use common sense


If you go to the restroom, take your purse or wallet. Men tend to remove their wallets or phones from their back pockets and place them in the seatback pocket, and women will leave their purses unattended to go to the restroom. In both these cases, travelers leave the opportunity open to become victims of theft. In many cases, the person traveling next to you is usually a stranger. You may never see them again in life, and it is not likely to get to know them well while onboard. Even though your seatmate or fellow travelers can be friendly, always remember that they are strangers.

I hope you have never experienced any theft while onboard an airplane. I have seen it happen, and I know it can happen. Be careful and use your common sense. Have you ever given theft on the airplane a thought? As always, your comments are welcome.

Safety Flying Airport Airplanes Transportation

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Written by ebonytravelers
Hi, I'm a life traveler who continues to explore the world! My travel tips are from my mature, lived experience being an ex-pat and 23 years as an international flight attendant.

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