Reader Question: Purse Stolen With Passport On American Airlines Flight From Dallas To Shanghai


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question regarding a purse containing passport that was stolen on an American Airlines flights from Dallas to Shanghai.

Reader Question Purse Snatched On American Airlines DFW PVG Flight

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Here’s the email from the reader:

My sister’s purse was stolen in-flight on our way to Shanghai this past weekend on AA.  She didn’t realize it until after some people had de-planed already, impossible to stop the passengers and do a search.  Since her passport was inside the small purse she wasn’t allowed into Shanghai and was sent back to DFW 2 hours after arrival, i flew back with her just in case there were issues when she arrived back in the US as she is national of Panama.

Is there anything we can ask the airline? Are they somewhat responsible for the lost in flight? She was sitting in bulkhead so she was not allowed to have any bags on the floor or in her lap as per FAA regulations, I was in business class.  Not sure this matters, but I’m ExP with AA.

They re-booked us on the return flight on the same plane and used up two of my SWU.  We were spending a couple of days in Shanghai before heading to HKG for a nephew’s wedding. I was able to get the Peninsula in Shanghai to allow the no show.  I had no internet connection not even with my roaming and data plan while we were at PVG and was trying to figure out what to do while the immigration people kept demanding we leave in the next flight.  Language was a big barrier, even with the AA agent who was trying to help us.


There have been reports of “gangs” stealing and going through passenger carryons on some Cathay Pacific/Dragonair flights between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Unfortunately, it is passenger’s responsibility to take care of his/her stuff even when sitting on the exit row that doesn’t allow any purses etc. on the floor. It is practically impossible to stay alert 100% of the time on these long-haul flights because one needs to sleep at times as well.

American Airlines did what they were required to do when passenger doesn’t have his or her passport in possession when trying to enter China. The airline is required to transport the passenger back to the point of origin. This may cause difficulties if the passenger is not US citizen or permanent resident when the passport is lost. I am glad that your sister was able to get back in.

I wanted to post this as a reminder that one should stay alert even on these long-haul flights and take care of their purses even when traveling on business or first class. You never know who might be going through your stuff when you are in sleep.

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