DO NOT carry valuables in your Check-in Baggage

15/04/2016 09:02

The Council is concerned that passengers are losing their valuables whilst travelling overseas. This year, the Council received 3 formal complaints from passengers who travelled in different flights from Nadi to Brisbane on 2nd and 4th March 2013 and lost their jewelries.

In all three cases, gold jewelries worth more than $18,200 went missing from locked suitcases which were checked in from Nadi airport.  The complainants carried gold jewelries which they intended to wear at a wedding ceremony in Brisbane. One of the complainant’s sisters who were from Canada also had jewelries worth $11,800 missing from her suitcase. Fortunately, she had travel insurance and was paid by the insurance company for the lost jewelries.

Airline liability for loss, delay, or damage to baggage is limited despite the assurance given by the airline that they will take responsibility of the baggage. In fact carriers assume no liability for fragile, valuable or perishable articles, so consumers need to make sure that they have adequate insurance to cover damage or loss of these types of items.

The terms and conditions of Air Pacific spells out that they “will not be liable for loss, damage to or the delay in delivery of fragile or perishable items, money, jewellery, precious metal, silverware, negotiable papers, securities, or other valuables (including but not limited to cameras, electronic equipment), business documents, passports and other identification documents, or samples, which are included in the passenger’s checked baggage, whether with or without the knowledge of the airline”.

Consumers must be alert and avoid the risk of having valuable belongings lost. So what can you do from becoming a victim?

  • Hand-carry items of value. Items such as keys, artwork, cameras, credit cards, money, jewellery, precious metals, silverware, medicines, personal electronic devices, important documents, such as business documents, passports and other identification documents etc.
  • Hand – carry medications.  Medications should not be packed in your checked bags. Travelers are permitted to carry liquid medications onto planes, even if they exceed the limit for carry-on liquids. But this must be declared at the security clearance where hand baggage are screened and physically checked by the security officers.  
  • Travel Insurance- Consumers are advised to buy travel insurances that cover lost luggage, money and valuables and also provide medical cover. Before you buy a travel insurance policy, make sure it offers good value for money. Properly understand what all is covered by the policies, as well as how much it costs, so you can be confident that you are well protected by your travel insurance policies.  Consumers must note that insurance normally covers up to a certain limit for lost or stolen baggage and belongings. Better understanding of what you will get in terms of dollar value from the insurance company is important before buying a policy.
  • Luggage Wrap- Finally to protect your luggage from damage and intrusions, it is advisable to  use the luggage wrapping services offered at airports around the world including Nadi airport that involves encasing suitcases in plastic.

On arrival, you must inspect your luggage although you may be in a hurry to meet your loved ones or you want to get away from the crowded airport as soon as possible. You have to file your claim directly with the airline by going straight to baggage claim counters at the airports to claim for damaged or missing luggage/items. You need to act quickly because many airlines give passengers only 48 hours after landing to file a claim. It is also advisable for consumers to contact the airline directly by phone for instruction on how to claim in the event they discover damaged or missing luggage/items upon reaching their homes. But this needs to be done within 48 hours of landing.

Meanwhile, in relation to the complaints received by the Council, the airline concerned has advised that their Baggage, Safety and Security department has referred the matter to police for further investigation. The Council hopes that the airline will pursue with airport operators to tighten their security services by placing CCTV cameras at appropriate places to catch baggage handlers who tamper with personal belongings and are trusted by the travelers

Finally, theft can be disheartening and depressing. When planning a flight, do take all the above information into consideration. Remember:  Never put anything you are afraid to lose inside a suitcase.