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try not to check-in your bags, people!

I have yet to run thru details of my trip to the u.s. in late May, but some articles in the online Malay Mail last week (here and here) plus stumbling on this blog today, had prodded me to give my two sen worth on the issue of theft at KLIA:

It's one of those things... you've always 'known' that there's a problem with baggage at KLIA... tho i think most of us would think of the breakdowns of the baggage handling system first... turns out baggage theft is a bigger problem... heck, it seems some of these thieves would actually disrupt the baggage system in order to get their hands on a targeted bag or two!!!

It's ridiculous that such things can so easily happen...

'Disappointing' doesn't even come close to describe how I feel about these officers who do not uphold the amanah of their job... heck, I bet to them the job is just a means to illegal 'wealth'!

And to top it off....

I bet these thieves have been having a GREAT time recently with U.S.-bound baggage... what with the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) insisting that bags be unlocked for random inspection!

ok ok ok to be 'fair' to the TSA, they actually ask for folks to lock their baggage with TSA-approved padlocks, which means that the TSA essentially has the 'master key' for these locks. If you DON'T have a TSA-approved lock, and they choose your locked bag for inspection, they WILL break it open. Fun, eh?

Maybe the TSA can ensure that the use of these master keys are properly controlled, but I really am not that keen on the idea that some baggage handler could maybe get his/her hands on such a key. I know if they ever instituted such a system in Malaysia EVERY Tom Dick & Harry would have a copy of the master key in their hands!!

At the same time, just because a bag has the TSA-approved lock doesn't mean that the lock won't be damaged, or even go missing!

Then again, the TSA has on their website a claims form for damage/loss... but you'd have to be able to prove that whatever you're claiming was due to TSA inspections and not KLIA baggage handlers, for example!

Can't really win, can ya?

For Anita, who is gonna be heading to the u.s. in august: maybe you can look into the availability of these locks in KL? Maybe the u.s. embassy itself can point you in the right direction... after all, it's THEIR government that's making this hassle for people, right??

Some relevant pages:
1. from Stupid Security (exposing fake security since 2003)
2. a list of supposedly “accepted and recognized” locks (i.e. brands of bags with locks that the TSA have master keys to)
3. Travel Sentry page
4. review of Travel Sentry products

Whatever it is... to me the bottom line is, as far as possible, travel light and don't check-in luggage unless you REALLY have to, for both U.S. and Malaysian destinations!

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