• 2005: AirTran baggage handler (Chicago Midway) steals a case of audio equipment from the cargo hold.
  • 2007: two ground-services employees caught going through Alaska Airlines luggage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
  • 2008: three Continental baggage handlers caught pilfering in Tampa.
  • 2003-08, over 400 TSA (Transportation Security Administration) employees fired for theft. TSA reports the worst airports for theft: Newark, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Seattle-Tacoma.
What to do?

   1. Do not pack valuables near the top of carry-on bags for they're easier to grab.

   2. Do not place valuables in checked bags.

   3. Employ a lock for each bag. TSA suggests Travel Sentry or Safe Skies, which screeners can open and relock if they open your bag.

   4. Locks sometimes are removed by screeners if a bag is suspicious; still, locks put off casual theft.

   5. Consolidate loose items (cell phones, iPods, etc.) into one bag for the x-ray machine, and watch it until it emerges. Do not enter the metal detector until your bag is inside the x-ray machine.

   6. Place the carry-on with valuables under the seat in front of you and lock it.

   7. Keep your wallet on your person.

   8. If you intend to sleep, make sure of #6 & #7.

   9. Consider a lock for your bag in the overhead bin and try to store it in the bin across from you.

   10. Products such as LoJack from Computrace for laptops, send a signal when a stolen computer logs onto the Internet. Laptop Cop (Awareness Technology) allows you log on remotely to copy and delete sensitive files. Zoombak's Advanced GPS Universal Locator tracks the bag via the Internet or phone.

   11. Most airlines reimburse for lost checked luggage up to $2,500, but items such as jewelry, cash, business equipment and electronics are exempt. (You need receipts.)

   12. A home owner insurance policy may cover you, but there is usually a deductible.

   13. Never leave bags unattended. You will hear that announcement repeated frequently in every airport.

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