As the holiday travel season approaches, airport authorities are increasingly aware of luggage thefts, says the Charlotte Observer. It’s an issue of heightened interest after a Phoenix couple were charged with stealing hundreds of bags from the Sky Harbor airport this month. Tracking statistics for stolen baggage is difficult. Airlines are required to report how much luggage is lost to federal transportation authorities, but they don’t say how much of that they believe was stolen. US Airways, the largest airline operating out of Charlotte, loses three pieces of luggage for every 1,000 passengers, federal data say.
It’s difficult to figure out what luggage has been stolen. “That’s because everybody files their report with the airline,” said airport director Jerry Orr, adding that most missing baggage gets categorized as lost, not stolen. And even then, you really don’t know what happened until you find the bag.” Charles Loomis packed everything for a birthday weekend golf getaway into his large golf bag. When he and his wife returned from Orlando, Fl., on Oct. 4, her luggage was there; his wasn’t. He reported it stolen and estimates he lost more than $10,000 worth of items. US Airways paid him their maximum – $3,300. “It’s their negligence,” he said. “Even if it was stolen by some random person. There’s a lot of theft in airports that’s not being talked about.”