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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