The shock of pilfered luggage

Tokyo

The United States has been beefing up its security measures and spending a lot of money to check travelers entering the country. But there’s one thing that needs to be scrutinized much more closely — the handling of passengers’ checked luggage.

I recently arrived from a visit to the U.S., and it was the first time that I have had things stolen from my checked-through luggage. My flight itinerary was not convenient, as I was using a ticket awarded after accumulating so many sky miles. I checked in at San Diego airport on May 6 for my flight to Narita, and flew to Salt Lake City for a connecting flight to Seattle. I had to stay overnight in Seattle.

When I arrived at Narita airport on May 8 and got my luggage from the carousel, I thought it was much lighter than I remembered when packing it, but I didn’t think to open it until I got home. Then the shock: All the presents I had bought for my family and friends had been stolen. One of the things stolen was my wedding video, packed in a beautiful black box. It might have been mistaken for something else. This loss really broke my heart.

If baggage security can be so lax as to allow a baggage handler, or anybody for that matter, access to checked-in luggage and the time to pilfer luggage without fear that anybody might notice via security cameras or otherwise, what can prevent the same person from planting something inside the luggage of any traveler?

I hope the authorities are listening, including the airline that I used. Please, for travelers’ safety and peace of mind, do something!

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

i.m. watanabe