Burglars Love Luggage Tags
Dear Airline Traveler,
Thank you so much for including your name, phone number and home address on your luggage tag. I was running out of homes to break into. I have to support my drug habit, doncha know. But now that you just hopped on an airplane and won’t be home for a while, I can go to your place and rob you blind. I ought to find plenty to take to the pawn shop, sell on the streets or use for trade. Thanks for that. Oh, and if you left your teenage daughter or wife at home, that could be a real bonus. They wouldn’t expect me to be there so I might have to make sure they aren’t able to call the cops after I leave… If you know what I mean. Or maybe while I’m there, I may just ‘hit that’ sweet thing. She’s probably never had a real man like me. I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sharing such personal information with me.
Burglar and part-time rapist, attacker and murderer if I panic.
Extreme? Perhaps. Possible? You bet. Every day countless travelers unknowingly do stupid things to put themselves, love ones or personal property at risk. Do you feel safe sharing such personal information with unknown gate agents, baggage handlers, valets, or even the stranger standing next to you at the check-in counter? Under what circumstance would you possibly need to include your home address on your luggage?
If your luggage is lost or mis-routed, wouldn’t it make sense to merely have your name and cell phone number on the tag? At least that way the airlines could contact you for more information. Or list your name and the phone number where you will be staying once you arrive at your destination if you don’t want your unpublished cell phone number attached to your name.
Interestingly I decided to look up a few airlines to see what their policy was with regard to identification on luggage. Here are a few, taken directly from their own websites:
Delta: Put your name and the phone number of your destination on the inside and outside of your bag.
United: Each checked bag must have an external tag or label showing the name of the customer who checked it in.
Southwest: Regulations require name identification on the outside. We recommend placing identification on the inside of the baggage, too.
American: Your name and address must be on the outside of your baggage. Name tags are available at all airport baggage check-in locations
TSA: Don’t forget to place identification tags with your name, address and phone number on all of your baggage, including your laptop computer. It is a good idea to place an identification tag inside your baggage as well.
Delta, United and Southwest seem to have their act together. They inform passengers to list their name and/or phone number. I was, however, saddened to see that both American Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration both inform passengers to include their address on their luggage tags. TSA is a government organization, so I guess that doesn’t really surprise me that the information originating from them may not be the wisest; but what’s American’s excuse? Just blindly duplicating what TSA does?
If you’re already paying the exorbitant extra checked baggage fee, are you really going to convince me that some gate agent would refuse to toss your bag on the belt because you refuse to share your home address with minimum wage, complete strangers? Doubtful.
The next time you travel, I hope your luggage tag contains just the bare bones: Name and cell or destination Phone Number. If not, your accommodating self may want to leave some cookies out for the burglars and maybe a cold beer in the fridge.
Make good choices.