Singapore Airlines made a complaint to their handling agent SATS back in 2016 that some of their checked bags had been tampered with and sent to wrong destinations. SATS in turn filed a police report.
Disgruntled baggage handler whose job was to screen bags started to switch luggage tags due to excessive workload (SATS wasn’t proving enough employees) and because the X-RAY machine was often broken that resulted even more work.
Here’s an excerpt from the Straits Times (access their piece here):
Feeling aggrieved at his company for not helping to ease his workload, a baggage handler at Changi Airport Terminal 2 decided to swop the baggage tags of 286 bags belonging to Singapore Airlines and SilkAir passengers.
The bags later arrived at places other than their intended destinations.
As a result, the two carriers had to make compensation payouts totalling more than $42,000 to 221 affected passengers as of Oct 1 this year.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Tay Boon Keh, who is no longer working as a baggage handler, pleaded guilty in court to 20 counts of mischief on his 65th birthday on Friday (Oct 26).
Another 266 similar charges will be considered during sentencing.
He committed the offences between Nov 8, 2016, and Feb 6 last year.
This is a good reminder what these employees can do to make your trip more cumbersome. An airline employee can make a “mistake” and delete your return or not properly issue your award ticket in the first place. Often there is very little recourse.
You can image the inconvenience that this baggage handler caused to hundreds of travelers by sending their bags to wrong destinations that must have delayed them for days.
The penalties for his actions seems little harsh, however. The maximum is one year jail-time for each incident.