Theft From Airline Passenger Baggage

OSI-94-18R: Published: Apr 28, 1994. Publicly Released: May 10, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) property theft from checked airline passenger baggage at selected major U.S. airports; and (2) preemployment screening of baggage-handling personnel. GAO found that: (1) the ratio of theft from baggage to the number of passengers is low, but does demonstrate the vulnerability of baggage to unauthorized access; (2) airlines tend to handle theft complaints themselves and often do not report the thefts to the police; (3) some passengers make fraudulent theft claims; (4) some enforcement authorities believe the theft problems are due more to contractor personnel than airline direct-hire employees because contractor personnel receive lower wages and lack employment benefits; (5) airline employees and contractor personnel working on domestic flights are subject to an employment history check, while international flight personnel are subject to employment and criminal background checks; and (6) the Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of requiring criminal history background checks for air carrier and airport operations employees.

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