Don’t Check Your Valuables

Another lesson learned the hard way — on the flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco on US Airways my baggage was delayed, and then when it arrived the following morning all my camera equipment was missing. Since I had just been to Italy I was carrying more than usual. The toll ended up being:

  • Nikon D3
  • Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF
  • Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
  • Leica M8
  • Leica 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux
  • Cards, cases, etc.

I’ve traveled so many times with things in my suitcase I just don’t think about it anymore, literally over a hundred trips over the last 4-5 years. This has shaken me a lot more than the incident a few weeks ago and I’m probably not going to check any electronics anymore. Jon Udell had something similar happen and found a story about packing a starter pistol to get your baggage treated differently. (Hat tip: Lloyd.)

Since relating this story a few other people have told me they’ve had things stolen when leaving Philadelphia specifically, it sounds like there might be a serious problem there, one that warrants investigation. US Airways is just sending me through the “lost luggage” form, so I doubt anything will change or happen. Be extra careful if you travel through there.

118 thoughts on “Don’t Check Your Valuables

  1. A friend of mine was on a plane when he actually saw a baggage-handler open his suitcase and remove his camera. He made a careful note of the man’s appearance and then tried to make a complaint to the airline.

    “Without evidence it would be a case of your word against his,” the airline said.

    “Evidence? What kind of evidence would you need?” he replied.

    “Photographic evidence,” he was told, with no apparent sense of the irony of the statement.

  2. Wow. That is some serious gear they stole from you!

    But remember; it’s only things. Material stuff. It could have been much worse, even though that is a lot of pretty expensive material stuff…

  3. My impression is that all baggage from all airports is likely to get ransacked and valuables stolen. I never check any valuables, and if I had to I would probably be very interested in trying the starter pistol trick.

  4. Yeah starter pistol is the way to go if you’re American and flying domestic…I’ve heard that tip before. Unfortunately I’m Canadian, so it’s a bit more difficult to do that up here. Either way, that sucks man…

  5. Wow, I thought that this stuff only happened in mob ruled NYC in the 60s at La Guardia Airport. I’m sorry you lost this stuff, and I can understand your loss. The Leica is such a sweet camera.

    I hope folks who read this here learn to always carry the expensive stuff on ya if ya don’t have insurance for it.

  6. If anyone here has actually done the starter pistol thing, leave a comment. I wonder if it’s an urban myth.

  7. Yikes! Though you can add me to the list of people who have had *problems* at PHL with luggage. Nothing was stolen out of my bag (I had it locked), but it did take me three hours once for them to locate one of my bags.

  8. Bummer That’s not cool! On short trips I try to get all gear as carry on, but that’s nearly impossible w/ out an assisting flying with. Even so I try to put the camera or most valuable items on my carry on. (Still not a help if lighting or stands go missing)

    I’ve had bags delayed, but showing up with the items missing is not good.

    I hope the airlines offers to look into this?

    ~Adam in Phoenix.

  9. What is “Starter Pistol?”

    A good friend checked his electronics going home to Switzerland, and the same thing happened to him.

    The diff with him tho, is that he *only* had electronics as his carry-on items… and the flight was so overbooked that when he went to board, the flight attendants took his bag and said they had to put it in with the luggage below, because there was absolutely no room left in the above-seat bins. So- he’s planned to do carry-on, but was told that more than a hip-pouch was not permissable (yeah, he boarded late, too).

  10. Ouch — that’s a serious amount of gear to suddenly go missing. Sorry this happened. Definitely gives me one more reason why my camera bag is _always_ a carryon, though (and I don’t have nearly as much invested in my toys as you did)!

  11. Not to pile on Philly, but I watched a TSA agent there pick up my wallet and look through it. He was just walking by and plucked it out of the basket.

    It was one of the few times I did not have the wallet in my backpack.

    Very unnerving.

  12. That sucks. I have a general lack of trust when it comes to that, so I always take my camera gear with me on my back. Surely I get plenty of complaints that I have too much or my backpack is too large, but if I’m denied entry because of my bag unless I check my camera bag, I’m not getting on the plane. Simple as that. Such a pain. Hope you can replace all your gear soon enough.

  13. Leica 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux… wow, that is a very expensive toy you have there.

    Normally I would pack all of my expensive gadgets into my laptop bag.

  14. Probably worth talking to the airline about reimbursement. I successfully got $1500 out of an airline one time with a friendly, but lawyerly worded letter, for CDs that disappeared out of my bag.

    It took a few back and forths, but I did get the money. Airlines are technically liable up to $3000, and although they have exclusions, those probably wouldn’t hold up in court.

  15. Remember everyone, security is much too concerned with searching white males in their twenties and 80-year-old wheelchair bound grandmas to worry about the apparent “high quality” people working at the airport.

  16. A Nikon and a Leica? Oh the horror.

    My wife works for an airline. The starters pistol story is mostly a myth. Airlines are very careful with any firearm or weapon, starters pistols included, that much is true. They’re normally carried and handed personally to each person in the baggage chain rather than thrown in with the other bags.

    Where it falls apart is, you’re required to pack the pistol separately in a locked box. It’s that box that is treated with care, your regular bag will go on with everyone else’s.

  17. :o Weird that has to happen now when I was just gushing over the Milan photos yesterday. Even blogged about how I wish I have my own Nikon D3 and then poof, it’s gone! $4,999 gone! Whyyyy?! :'(

  18. Did you have Zipties on the zipper?

    Whether there are valuables or not I ziptie every lock on my cases when I travel.

    If the TSA has to cut them off they will replace it with a new ziptie when done (have had it happen a couple of times)

    At the end of the day it’s about deterring – A tightly zipped ziptie is just enough of a pain typically that they’ll leave your case alone.

  19. Yeh, thank you TSA. You’re really making us all feel safer. TSA = They Steal Anything.

    Ah, the good old days when we could securely lock our bags. Now everything is WIDE OPEN.

    And do you feel safer when you’re on a plane? I don’t.

  20. That’s terrible! Are you going to be able to replace all that stuff? And I didn’t realize you’d turned into such a photo man. I do like the photos that you have.

    By the way, thanks for commenting on my blog. :)

  21. That totally sucks. I never check any of my valuables. I don’t know what I would do if my Nikon D200 was stolen.

  22. Well that sucks :(

    I’m flying through dubai in a montha nd was told that i shouldn’t leave anything of any value oin my checked in luggages… and also to keep an eye on my carrying *eeps*

  23. Im a CSI working in England and i have never lost anything since i got my job. My bags, hand luggage included are all tagged with a tracking device which is then removed upon arrival as the materials i use cannot be exposed to anyone or thing. I have one camera for work and the other for my own personal use but i declare them both. This air travel hack is fantastic.

  24. Sorry to hear about your loss, Matt. It was great meeting you when you were here in Philly last month and hope this incident doesn’t deter you from coming back.

    To add to the anecdotal evidence about PHL, I’ll mention that I’ve traveled through PHL (arrivals and departures) about 50 times (90% on USAirways) in the past 5 years and I’ve never had an incident. I will say that I haven’t always traveled with expensive gear in my checked baggage, but I have checked baggage with a few lenses a few times and even a Wii a few times (including once over Thanskgiving and Christmas 2006).

    I’m not saying PHL is better than any other airport, and while what happened to you is pretty terrible, a few comments aren’t enough to jump to the conclusion that it’s any worse.

  25. TSA’s website says not to check electronics (or cash or other things of value). I guess that means they are at least on Step 2. Unfortunately for you, I doubt they are ready for Step 8 yet. Even if they are, their amends are going to be 1:200 or less of what you paid for that gear.

  26. I’m sorry Matt…..I hope this doesn’t take the love of photography out of you. I had a set of golf clubs stolen once and I have never taken the game seriously again.
    I like your photos and I hope you keep posting them.

  27. that sucks. sorry to hear. but yes, i think the speculation about phl is true. my coworker had a camera stolen out of a bag that she wanted to carry on, but was forced to check. she did end up getting a $200 travel voucher for her trouble. not worth the hassle, but definitely don”t give up with US Air, they’ll eventually offer something.

  28. I am so sorry for the loss of your gear. After a friend had some jewelry stolen from her bag in Pittsburgh a few years ago, I learned to pack my jewelry and electronics in my carry on luggage.

    A couple of years ago, Sasha Cohen was flying from Philadelphia to Boston on US Airways, and her luggage containing her skates disappeared too.

  29. It’s a real shame that this happened. All our sympathy to you, even if this won’t repair the damage. As we prepare to leave ourselves on a long journey, we’ll take a lesson from your misadventure.

  30. Sorry about your loss. I travel a lot with cameras and laptop. They are always with me. I went thru Heathrow for the one and only time last year. Ended up putting my socks and undies in the laptop and camera bag and the laptop and cameras in the roller… they only allow ONE piece of carry-on. I have had friends lose cameras and compus in checked. Expensive lesson.

    also… check out Lightstalkers, it’s a board for pro photojournalists and they are always discussing the best ways to carry equipment and air travel difficulties. If ya want, send me your email and I will get you on the ASMP discussion summary… lots of traveling pros asking each other for tips on beating the airports and TSA problems. It’s the Seattle list, so it’s not an inbox clogger.

  31. Well man,

    That sucks big time…

    They can take away your photo gear, but they will never be able to take away the way you see things, your photographic eye. So please keep seeing things for us!

    And btw next time you come to northern Italy it will be my pleasure to bring you to the best river barbecue you’ll ever experience in life :)

    All the best my friend!

    Simmessa.

  32. Man, that a lot of stuff.
    Pro cams generally have a personal attachment to their owners. I am sure you miss your camera now when you want to take any good picture.

    The airport authorities there should have already read this page by now.

  33. Were the cases locked at all, Matt – even with one of those small, flimsey locks? What a nightmare. :(

    It’s hard, but there’s nothing to do but dust yourself off, learn the lesson and try not to let it get you down too much.

    Here’s hoping you had some good back-up stocks of your optimism tax . . .

    V.

  34. I’ve read and heard enough horror stories about theft from check-in luggage that I would never put anything of value there. Especially since they never take any responsibility for what happens.

    I guess it sounds a little harsh considering what just happened (and I feel for your loss, that was some serious equipment) , but I thought this was common knowledge by now. Especially among photographers.

    iPhones in checked-in luggage has been a popular goal for thiefs recently, especially when people outside US buys more than one to take home to friends.

  35. Matt – Sorry to hear about your Cams. I would call US Air & tell them you want your $3,000.00 for stolen baggage items, way less than the value for sure. They will have some reason not to honor a claim so call US Airways CEO Doug Parker, tell him to pay up or you will file a court claim against him reminding him who you are. Then spend 50.00 to file a claim and I bet you will get yor money. USAir dosnt need bad press and when ya start at the top you always have a better chance getting what you want. :)

    P.S. I wouldnt chance the “Starter Pistol” as you chance having a Clueless Air or TSA employee decide to detain you since they skiped that day of training to pilfer baggage in PA. :)

  36. Man what a bummer.

    As a professional photographer I am pretty amazed that you thought checking $10K+ amount of gear was a sound idea. I have a couple of rolling cases, one for domestic and another for international travel that I carry onto the plane. I can usually fit 2-3 D3 bodies, a wide assortment of pro glass, accessories and a laptop in a single carry-on roller. Yeah it might take a bit longer to get through security but it is worth the piece of mind. Check out think tank’s line of rolling bags–you cannot buy better.

    Lastly, I hope you have adequate insurance. Airlines usually cap the amount they will reimburse you and I doubt it comes close to the amount you lost.

  37. Oh man, that totally sucks. All that amazing camera gear! I won’t even check my shitty D50, I can’t believe you checked a D3! Hopefully the airline won’t bone you on how much they reimburse you.

  38. Sometime in the past several months my hubby came home from flying (Delta) somewhere Domestic, Eastern US most likely (not sure specifically where he was) and he couldn’t get his TomTom to charge or turn on.

    I looked at it (me being the electronics/computer savvy in the family) and told him the screws were a tad loose on the case. He told me he had wrapped it in his clothing and put it in a checked (locked) bag — which he’d never before done, and said he did it because of not enough room in his carry-on that time.

    I took the screws out then, and inside there were three or so screws totally out of their holes, loose, and one missing for sure.

    So someone unscrewed my hubbies TomTom, lost a screw and also didn’t put the inside ones back where they fully belonged and then partially screwed the case back on, but failed to tighten them.

    Hubby had found the TomTom wrapped in his clothing and didn’t notice it being any different than how he had put it, so didn’t suspect anything … until I told him the bottom line was that the TomTom couldn’t have done that to itself.

    Never Bag Check electronics. I personally have never trusted airlines to ever leave anything valuable/electronic in someone else’s hands.

  39. I had the reverse experience.

    My mother-in-law once left a video camera at the security check point at O’Hare after being pulled aside to be hand-wanded because she set off the metal detector.

    She forgot she didn’t have the camera with her after they cleared her through security.

    Sometime after she and my family got to the gate, I heard my name being called over the intercom — I had put a luggage tag on the video camera bag as a “just in case” measure.

    We didn’t have time to run back to the security check point, so we asked an airline gate official if there was any way to have someone get the bag for us (or take it and send it back to our home, if the plane was going to take off).

    The crew radioed and someone grabbed the bag from the TSA and brought it back to the gate — even after we had been loaded onto the airplane. An airline staffer brought the bag onto the airplane and gave it back to us.

    They didn’t have to go the extra mile for us — and probably could have told us to choose between flying (or catching the next flight) and the video camera.

  40. A $200 voucher is nothing compared to the thousands of dollars spent on those camera equipment… especially the lens. As a photographer you have my greatest sympathy.

  41. Also, whenever I travel, I always carry my valuables with me. Simply put, I don’t trust the airlines — at all. There’s too much room for corruption within employees anywhere along the line.

    Sucks to learn the hard way though…

  42. WOW. That really, really sucks. I’m totally one of those people that hold up the line while I take out all my gadgets from my carry-on in the security line. This is after a trip to NYC. I didn’t lose anything, but my bags arrived on the carousel with pockets and compartments unzipped and gone through. This all before 2001, so I really doubt it was security.

  43. Losing some camera and some lenses is okay. Losing some D3 and some Leica glass is NOT okay.

  44. Comsumerist has reported several times that Philly is a terrible place for luggage theft, likely the worst in the nation. That said, I always carry-on electronics because I don’t want them to be man-handled.

  45. If expensive items like that don’t fit in my carry on, I’ll ship them via FedEx to my destination. This has always worked great for me. I’ve known way too many people over the years that have lost valuables from their checked luggage.

  46. In my opinion, Philly is THE worst airport. I do everything in my power to avoid that place. The last time I was there my flight was cancelled, and I spent a lovely evening watching the rats run around the empty terminal.

  47. First of all, let me express my deepest sympathies for your loss. Not the cameras, which are replaceable, but the totally irreplaceable pictures that were on them.

    Secondly, I’d recommend getting some TSA approved locks from some place like REI or Tumi. The one I got from Tumi is very good quality and has an indicator that lets you know if it’s been opened by a TSA agent. If it has, you can double-check your bags at the airport before you leave and file a loss report or whatever before you even leave. Also, it would at least slow the lazy thieves down a bit.

    Please, do let us know what you do to deal with this and how well it works for you. Also, tell us what happened with the loss report.

  48. Hey Matt,
    Sorry to hear about your stuff. Philly airport is notorious for stuff like this. That’s why when we have to fly, my family and I actually do it from JFK airport instead. Not to long ago there was an issue at Philly airport were hundreds of people had their luggage delayed. All of their luggage arrived at the same time, but half of their staff called out for a few days. There was luggage stacked from the floor to just about the ceiling and they didn’t have enough people to take care of it. Their ridiculous over there.

  49. Last year a hidden camera show discovered an illegal association the journalism named: “los abrevalijas” in Buenos Aires’ airport, some workers used to open all the bags the scanners tells them there were cameras inside and steal the content.

  50. That really bites – sorry to hear you lost all that equip. As a rule – I never, ever check electronics. Laptops and camera equip. sit with me.

    Bummer :(

  51. Sorry to hear that. I had the experience when flying back from Mexico to Switzerland of having a lot of things stolen from our luggage, from the irreplaceable (some gifts my daughter had received for her baptism, which had just taken place) to the “huh?” (some baby plastic cups). The airline (KLM) refunded us only for items for which we could produce receipts, but for the most valuable things, they took no responsibility.

  52. This sucks immensely Matt, sorry for this loss!

    I hope you had written down all of your gear’s serial numbers so you could stand the chance of finding it again weeks down the line.
    It’s not like Noctilux lenses were that common…

    (That reminds me, I’m off to write don some serial numbers…)

  53. What a shame! Too bad that a trip that looks like you really liked ended this way :(

    For one time it’s not an Italian fault cause this things happens really often here in Italy.

  54. That sucks, man. Thanks for the heads up to the rest of us. Still it gets a bit ridiculous to have all that stuff with you all the time, especially on long trips.

  55. As a photog myself, I really feel your pain. That is one terrible experience. I’ve had some small camera gear stolen and it was something I thought about for a good little bit. While it wasn’t a bunch of money worth of equipment like what you had stolen, it was a bunch for me because it took me a while to be able to afford to buy the stolen equipment. My family are close to Philly so I fly in there once a year for Christmas. I’ll make sure I don’t check anything valuable in. I would love to get the D3 too. I am so sorry to hear what happened to you. I love your photos so make sure you keep shooting.

  56. that sucks so so so much !
    a D3 !!! whaaa!
    there is a little entry on the starter pistol here
    http://blog.jonudell.net/2007/05/09/amazing-lifehack-pack-a-starter-pistol-to-deter-luggage-theft/

    i also lost my baggage in a Tehran Airport, i mentally narrowed it down to airport security. But i found out to late to take action. Nothing seriously expensive was in it and now i always Always take my camera and ipod with me on deck :]

    i think that’s like the only real solution – this is crazy actually.

  57. Because I was curious and I’m sure others are as well:

    B&H prices those items at
    $4,999.95
    $1,024.95
    $1,699.95
    $5,495.00
    $5,995.00
    $19,214.85 total (pre-sales tax).

    ye-ouch

  58. Well that severely sucks. Defend us, oh thou great defenders of freedom and stuff, from camera-wielding blog-writing computer geeks.

  59. I just saw this story over at cameraporn.net and had to share my story over here…

    I had a similar thing happen to me last December. Flying United from San Francisco to Palm Springs. My checked bags had a Nikon D50, 18-55mm, Sigma 10-20mm, Nikon 55-200mm, Nikon SB-28DX flash, misc cables, all my big memory cards, tripod, etc. $2500 worth of stuff, gone.

    The TSA had inspected my bag, I had the certificate with time, date, agent number, etc. Covenant Securities (The TSA contractor at SFO) never would return ANY calls, a claim filed with them resulted in a form letter bascially saying “too bad about your loss, but we had nothing to do with it”. Letters to the CEO of Covenant went unanswered.

    Same deal with United, “too bad about your loss, we had nothing to do with it, and by the way, you know we don’t cover ANYTHING valuable when it’s in your checked luggage”

    My homeowners policy instantly said “no coverage, once I told them that I used the equipment for business. The adjustor told me if I told them that I claimed that the camera equipment was used for just 1% business use, that fact would instantly negate my claim with them.

    luckily, I did get reimbursed for about 75% of the value from my business insurance policy.

    I do graphics for corporate events and travel with a lot of computer gear and and camera equipment to do my job, I’ve turned into a damn pack mule to try and stuff everything of value into my carry-on bags

    arrrrgh

  60. Always use a TSA lock on your luggage. So far, I’ve had great luck w/ baggage. I typically have a lot of tools, with one checked bag being all tools, and that usually makes the TSA wanting me nearby while they check my bags. But, with a TSA lock, only security is doing the opening. IMO, the baggage handling should be done in an area visible to random travelers… ie a pit or behind large glassy areas.

  61. Sorry to add salt to injury Matt but you’re living proof that expensive, high-end gear doesn’t necessarily equate to better pictures.

  62. That sucks. Regret I had a similar incident when stuff was taken out of my case on a flight from London to New York. I now travel light to the USA usually taking one Nikon SLR 2DXS. I have a Nikon D300 with a number of expensive lenses and Leica gera and am on holiday next month in Florida. I was going to take a few bodies and lens but decided against it. I have bough a Canon G9 which I hopefully will do for the holiday and I can keep it close. I would say I travel throughout Europe by plane and have never had the baggage stolen problem.

  63. I used to be a photo assistant and travelled nearly constantly at different stages of that portion of my career – 99% of the photographers I worked with, we would carry on any cameras – there was one really long telephoto lens – would get packed randomly in 14 cases of lighting and grip equip – the key is that cameras are relatively small, consumer electronics and easy to sell for quick cash – the thief apeal is just very greatly increased than, say, a beat up set set of Dynalite Strobes and lightstands – so you carry-on the the cameras. I would hide the cameras in the hotel room in drawers and closets.

  64. <<< I would hide the cameras in the hotel room in drawers and closets.
    <<< …or I should I would hide camera bags – as opposed to leaving them out in the middle of the room if we went out for dinner or whatever. The guy that owned the big lens would make me chain it to the lav with a padlock!

  65. Matt, the Leica & the Noctilux are the heartbreakers, I’m so sorry to hear that. I just got an M8 and I’d be heartbroken if it were stolen.

    Most likely whoever took it probably has no idea what its worth and just through it was an older looking digi cam. Hopefully you have the serial numbers and can get them on a list so that they can be tracked down some day … the lux especially is a pretty rare piece so there’s a good chance it’ll show up some day.

  66. I just wrote to the Mayor of Philadelphia and to the Airport authority there. I’m from Philly, and this is so disgusting – it must be stopped.

  67. Oh Matt. When I saw you Friday I had no idea what had just happened. No wonder you were dazed. I am really sorry about your lost equipment–part of your creative arsenal for engaging in/ recording your life. I hope the insurance co. is quick, and that you are up to full speed soon. Best, Lea

  68. I am close to tears due to your loss.
    Because I love cameras! Especially the Leica and Nikon ones… (well, who on earth couldn’t?!)

  69. I have had numerous items stolen from my checked baggage, to the point where I no longer check any baggage if I can possibly avoid it. Those people are completely untrustworthy, at every airport.

    Next time you fly internationally, try this. Buy a bottle of liquor at the duty free shop. You’ll have to carry it onboard back to your homeland, and then you’ll have to switch it to the checked luggage, since you can’t carry on liquids domestically. Result: it’ll be stolen by the baggage handlers. Every single time.

  70. You checked TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS of highly portable electronics? Are you insane?

    I wouldn’t check a broken calculator, let alone a Leica. It sucks you lost your gear, but checking that bag is damned near Darwin Award territory.

  71. Where it falls apart is, you’re required to pack the pistol separately in a locked box. It’s that box that is treated with care, your regular bag will go on with everyone else’s.

    Yeah, that’s the idea. You put the pistol in the case that holds your camera gear. I see nothing that says that a gun has to be the only item in the case. Note that the restriction also applies to ammunition, so you could save money and just put a small box of ammo in there.

  72. are you sure the problem is in the philadelphia side and not the italy side?

    it is such a heavy loss to miss your photography equipments! whatever the weight, i always carry them with me and never checks in! thanks for confirming the necessity to do the same!

  73. Sorry to hear that, Matt…

    We’ve got a bunch of photos of you here in Italy… Tell us if you want something in particular that would like to have…

    Hugs and thanx for coming here and for the marvelous dinner chat.

    M.

  74. I accidentally packed my mobile phone in my suitcase when travelling with Korean Airlines and when I got home found my mobile phone had been stolen. When me and the wife returned from New Zealand after a year working out there we had bought a very expensive bottle of Bollinger (sp?) Champagne, it was wrapped securely in our luggage to protect it from getting damaged. When we arrived at the other end it was gone. It cost around $120 and was something that was very hard to replace :(

    Im sorry to hear about your loss.

  75. Sorry to hear about the theft of your gear. Getting insurance for your camera gear is a must if you’re traveling. You can get discounted insurance for camera gear through a variety of trade organizations like ASMP, NANPA, etc. These days even with such insurance I tend to carry my gear with me when on the plane. I’ll sacrifice other carry on gear/supplies to do so. I do hope you field a police report. That is no small theft.

  76. That is an unbelievable story! After my recent trip from JFK back to SFO, I noticed that a brand new Marc Jacobs bag I bought was no longer in my suitcase. I know, I know, it’s not a camera, but damn, it was still expensive. The Marc Jacobs bag was still in the original shopping bag with wrapping. I thought I left it in the hotel lobby when repacking, but now I’m sure it was stolen. I just assumed it was my own carelessness, but I did find the contents of my luggage slightly rearranged. How sad. Thanks for the passing along the post the starter rifle. I’m liking that idea more and more. (^_^)

  77. That is a real shame and I certainly feel your pain. Stealing from luggage and foreign mail happens a lot in the former Soviet Union too. Whenever we travelled with camera gear it was always hand carried, especially our tapes and stills on the return trip. But I never thought it would happen in the USA. Jesus WTF is the world coming to?

  78. That’s what happens when you stick a bunch of thugs in a uniform and give them power to ransack peoples luggage and do random searches.

  79. The problem seems to be a few low paid baggage handlers. What I don’t know is why they don’t pass through security electronic screening on the way onto work and the way out. They should be allowed no baggage.

    Don’t do the starting pistol thing…terrible advice!!!!

  80. Oh that hurts just reading it… a D3, come on, they probably don’t even know what they stole… the mother of all camera bodies.

    No airline is going to be “liable” or responsible for anything of any value whatsoever. The only thing they will likey “cover” in the event anything is stolen is dirty cloths, and even that they won’t pay but a set limit.

    I know, I use to work in the baggage area for an airline and, although they were one of the better airlines (southwest) they still wouldn’t cover REAL items.

  81. Beware of other airports like Phuket after I had forgotten about a phone I left in there after a security check from a bag I checked in.

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