Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security


TSA agents may steal your belongings

Airlines, Airport, Holidays, Money, One Bag, Security, Travelling, iPadEdward KiledjianComment

Would you be surprised if I told you that some TSA agents have been caught stealing from passengers?  The TSA is reporting that  an agent at JFK may have stolen up to $5,000 in cash from passengers as their personal affects rolled down the screening conveyor belt.

Another TSA employee, this time in Dallas, has been put on administrative leave because he may have stolen up to 8 iPads from passengers. MSNBC interviewed (Nico Melendez ) a TSA spokesperson who made some interesting recommendations for travellers:

  • He recommends putting all your valuable items (cash, watch, wallet, phone, etc.) in a zippered pocket in a briefcase. I couldn’t agree more. Never drop valuables in a plastic bin where a good thief can steal it in the blink of an eye. Make is as difficult for them to steal as possible. Personally I put my valuables inside one of the many inside pockets of my Scottevest jacket, then zip the pocket and zip the jacket.
  • He recommended never checking in valuables. He says that in addition to TSA screening, a checked luggage may be handled four or five times by airlines (by up to 10 different people). I read this and wonder why people still check in luggage.
  • He says that sometimes passengers pick up the wrong luggage (from the carousel) and therefore lost luggage may not have actually been stolen but rather taken by mistake. 
  • He also highlights the fact that items often get forgotten in “resolution rooms” after a more detailed inspection. So double check to ensure you packed up all your belongings if you get sent to secondary screening.
  • He recommends adding clear identification to all your belongings to ensure your items can find their way back to you if misplaced. I agree with this recommendation but with one caveat, never list your address.  If a thief knows you are heaving to Cancun on vacation and picks up your address from your luggage tag then he can more comfortably rob your house while you are away. I recommend listing your name and a cell phone number.

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Canada's WestJet to charge more service fees

Air Canada, Airlines, Airport, Holidays, Money, One Bag, Travelling, WestjetEdward KiledjianComment

Westjet is Canada’s second largest airline and it recently announced that it has found opportunities to double “ancillary revenue”. Ancillary revenue is income derived from non-ticket sources. One of the possible sources of new income “could be” checked baggage.

The Westjet CEO said more specifically (according to Reuters) that they are carefully watching airline industry practice of charging passengers a fee as of the first checked bag (Air Canada charges $25 as of the first checked bag).

This provides more motivation to be a onebag traveller. I will be travelling to Asia next month using only a carry on and some Scottevest clothes with lots of pockets. Stay tuned as I will be blogging product reviews, tips and tricks.

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Skype offers free WIFI access in 50 US Airports

Airport, Apple, IOS, Internet, MAC, Skype, Travelling, WIFI, WindowsEdward Kiledjian2 Comments

Make travelling less stressful with free WIFI from Skype. Until December 27 2011, The fine folks at Skype are offering you an hour of FREE WIFI internet at more than 50 US Airports. All you need is a free Skype account and a Windows, Mac Skype application (or IOS Skype WIFI App).

You can read the Skype blog posts and get a list of participating sites here.

In years past, we have seen Google offer similar gifts (but alas, not this year).