NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With a new round of airline fees coming this summer, carry-on luggage is becoming the most cost-effective way to fly. However, that convenience could come with a big risk. Thieves are targeting overhead compartments and robbing fellow passengers mid-flight.
Imagine opening the overhead bin after a long flight and finding out that your carry-on bag is gone.
“I always put my jewelry in my carry-on and most importantly, our passports,” Laura Bevis recently told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois.
Bevis and her husband said they were returning from Australia with their 11-month-old son when a fellow passenger snatched their carry-on bag. She said she caught the thief weaving through lines after the plane disembarked and was able to recover her valuables, but the incident taught her an important lesson.
“You hate to say it, but you can’t always trust people,” she said.
In flight theft is a new reality and experts told CBS 2 that carry-on bags are “easy pickings” for thieves.
“People don’t want to pay the checked bag fee. They also know there can be a lot of theft from baggage handlers,” explained George Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com.
With more people choosing to carry-on, overhead bins are getting crowded, reducing the likelihood that you will find one near your seat. Once you are out of view it becomes much easier for thieves to strike.
“There was a notorious example of an Air France flight attendant stealing money from coat pockets,” Hobica said.
Recently, the son of actress Cybill Shepherd was arrested for allegedly stealing from two fellow passengers aboard a United Airways flight.
To combat the problem, new “theft proof” bags come complete with extra lock, special zippers, and a stainless steel slash-guard.
Experts recommend keeping valuables at your feet, instead of in an overhead bin. They also advised CBS 2 that the most frequently targeted passengers are those who are sleeping, reading, or intently watching a movie.
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