And It Has Started: Reader Question About Stolen Camera On Turkish Airlines Istanbul – Chicago Flight (Electronics Must Be Checked)

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question by email that I had been waiting for since the electronics ban was instituted on certain flights to the United States.

Turkish Airlines PIR U

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I’m reaching out to you because I have hit a wall. I flew business on Turkish Airlines Flight 5 from Istanbul to Chicago on March 31, post electronics ban. Our electronics items were individually wrapped in bubble-wrap bags. We reclaimed them in a corner of the baggage claim area.

The collection area was a free-for-all: passengers clustered around the four employees who were dispensing electronics from checked suitcases. To make matters worse, the flight arrived a couple hours late, so people were in even more of a rush to claim their items. Discarded bubble-wrap bags littered the claims area as people grabbed their items and ran for connecting flights.

I had checked four electronic items (tablet, laptop, two cameras). Alas, I ended up with only three. The fourth (one of the cameras) was picked up by the Turkish employee who was collecting the discarded bubble-wrap bags from the baggage area. I was checking that my other electronics were functioning correctly (per Turkish’s instructions) when he was picking up the wrapping around me, which (unfortunately) also included my camera.

I noticed the camera was gone in the baggage claim area. I figured out what happened and asked the Turkish employee to let me search the bags he had collected, but he refused. (“Against security rules.”) I filed a loss report and have been trying to get a satisfactory response since. (I have called and emailed; see attached.)

Can you possibly help? I can’t even get Turkish to acknowledge they aren’t login to compensate me so I can file an insurance claim!

Well. I guess that the Turkish Airlines employee needed a new camera or cash and it has probably already been sold on eBay or Craigslist.

The reader should file a complaint with the DOT’s Consumer Complaints (access here). DOT will send the file to Turkish Airlines for comments and this likely speeds up he process at their (TK’s) end.

Conclusion

It is unclear what responsibility airlines take if any for the electronics that now must be checked due to the ban.

This certainly is great time for nefarious airline and ground handling company employees. They can pick up and choose the most expensive electronics that passengers were forced to check and steal them.

Good that the reader has insurance that would cover the theft of the camera. I would, however, go after the Turkish Airlines first because it is their responsibility to take care the electronics that now must be checked.

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  • karl

    So, you know the guy has your camera. Why not say “hey, you have my camera”?

  • colin

    To be fair to TK, the airline was only offering to take your laptop/ipad from you at the gate, not the whole gamut of electical devices.

    I lack any sympathy for OP in the above letter, if cameras which can + should have been in checked luggage were in his suitcases, OP would still have his camera.

    Selfishly bringing cameras and other non laptop/ipad devices to boarding gate simply compounds the problems collecting on arrival, and if too many selfish passengers bring all their big electrics to hand off at boarding, then TK will have no choice but to withdraw the offered laptop service.

    • Ridoncularious

      if cameras which can + should have been in checked luggage were in his suitcases, OP would still have his camera.

      I don’t know that I’d make such a blanket statement. There’s no guarantee that the camera, or anything else in checked luggage, would make it past some untrustworthy baggage handler looking to do some five finger discount shopping. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time checked baggage was victimized.

    • Malcolm

      As cameras have lithium batteries, the OP probably thought it necessary to turn them over.Not all cameras are cheap disposables! Prices vary fro $1k to $45k so keeping them in carryon luggage is perfectly reasonable.

    • Bill___A

      Theft is unacceptable under any circumstances. If they accepted them, they should accept liability.

  • robdubluu

    Hi there, I wanted to share with you my experience in relation to dealing with the electronics ban with my Qatar flight from CMB-DOH-BOS on April 27th. I was traveling in Business on their A350.

    Overall the experience was sound and I felt my electronics were safe and secure at all times.

    My journey started in CMB, transit in DOH and onto BOS.

    From CMB-DOH I carried my laptop and my iPad on-board. On arrival in DOH, I proceeded directly to the gate D1. I went to the gate earlier than I normally would have.

    At the gate, there were 2 agents specifically for packing electronics. I handed both pieces to them in my laptop case. They wrapped that in bubble-wrap and secured it with clear wrapping tape, more than enough. They then secured the cardboard box with more sticky tape. They then placed that box in yet another plastic bag with a secure strap to seal it.

    While that was going on, I filled out a form which described the goods. They checked the paperwork, we both signed, they gave me a copy. They then checked it in and gave me a baggage tag. Then all the electronics for that flight were placed on a trolly and loaded in to a large container.

    On arrival in BOS, after clearing immigration I was in the baggage claim area. A table was set up near carousel 3. The electronics came through a roll-a-door directly from the flight.

    Before any other baggage.

    They were wheeled to the table. An orderly line of customers formed ( although a few locals tried to jump the queue. ) We handed over our paperwork.

    They have to ( by law ) open each bag and box in front of you. Once checked and agreed, the electronics are handed over and off you go.

    So, if you are like me, and are/was anxious about theft or damage because of this stupid electronics ban, I can assure you Qatar have dealt with this very professionally. They have recognised a problem and offered a solution. I left BOS feeling very satisfied that once again, the Qatari’s have outsmarted the Yanks.

    So let’s see what DL, AA and UA can come up with next to try and stifle the rise and rise of the Middle-Eastern carriers.

    Maybe they should try and lift their game instead of trying to do it though the back door politics of the USA.

    Now there’s an idea Oscar! LOL.