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View Full Version : In-flight Issue Purse stolen aboard BA flight


Holidaylover
Sep 24, 2011, 8:59 PM
During a return flight from Italy on 13 July 2011 my purse and its contents were stolen. What has really upset me is that I was asked to give up my bag for it to be stowed in an overhead locker by a flight attendant who pointed out I was sitting in an escape isle and my bag could not be placed under the seat in front. She took the bag and stowed it as the seat belt lights were on and I was buckled in. When the seatbelt light went out and I retrieved my bag the purse had gone. I asked for the police to be called when the plane landed. On landing the pilot refused to call the airport police or check any passengers and no sweep was done. I had to find a customer service desk and ask them to call the police at Gatwick. I was given a crime reference. The police say they can do nothing. BA said it is not liable for any possessions on the flight and say they deny the flight attendant took the bag, although I have witnesses. I wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority who said they cannot investigate and it is for the police to do so. My insurers have refused to pay out because the flight attendant took the bag from me. I am really careful with my possessions and never let my bag out of my sight but I believed I could not refuse to allow the flight attendant to take the bag during the flight. I've never had anything like this happen before and would like to warn other travellers of what happened to me. When I travel next my credit card and a small amount of money will be in my pocket and nothing in my bag. I've flown many times but this was my first flight with British Airways and my last !

The_Judge
Sep 24, 2011, 11:17 PM
Make personal complaint against the flight attendant for theft as he/she took your bag without your consent. When someone takes property of someone without consent, it's theft, yes?? Call the police after you get the name of that individual and press charges.

btw, there is no policy about a bag NOT being able to go in the seat in front of you in an exit row. It is no different in that respect than any other row. It must, however, fit all the way under the seat, same as any other row.

jimworcs
Sep 25, 2011, 9:08 AM
This is odd. If the FA put the bag in the overhead compartment above you, did you not see anyone going into the locker? It is also odd that the flight attendants deny that they placed the bag in the compartment overhead, when you say they did and that you have witnesses.

The problem is this. You don't know who stole your items and can't prove who did it. Therefore, your only hope of recovery would be to prove negligence by BA. It is unlikely that you would be able to claim that BA was negligent in placing the item in the overhead locker. It is in the Terms and Conditions that you follow any reasonable request of the FA and in this case the FA made a judgement that your bag needed to be in the overhead compartment for safety. You have no chance of proving otherwise, as it is a judgement call. If your exit seat was a bulkhead seat, then you do indeed have to put it in the overhead compartment, as the space under your own seat is in fact for use by the passenger sitting behind you. If you were in a exit seat which was not a bulkhead seat, you are still trying to argue against the judgement of an experienced FA. I think any court unlikely to find in your favour in those circumstances, even if you, through your witnesses, are able to prove they did put the bag in the locker. You would however have the satisfaction of proving the FA a liar.

However, you could argue that the failure of the cabin crew and pilot to call the police before disembarkation was a negligent failure which resulted in any possibility to recover your stolen items. You could claim that BA impeded the possibility of catching the thief and recovering your property by not calling the police to the aircraft before disembarkation, despite your request that they do so, and are therefore liable. The only reason for the failure of the staff to call police to the aircraft was for operational efficiency. I think you could argue that this was possibly unreasonable. However, that in itself is a judgement call. For example, if you were in crowded store and someone picked your pocket, could you reasonably request the store lock the doors and restrain all the customers and staff from leaving until the police arrived? Would this be reasonable?

If you wanted to, you could file a claim in Small Claims Court claiming negligence by BA. You may find BA willing to settle rather than go through the hassle of trying to defend their actions, especially if you have indepedent witnesses. You can file a claim cheaply in the UK using the online small claims court procedure. This will force BA to respond. You can file a claim here:

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

jimworcs
Sep 25, 2011, 9:35 AM
Incidently, Judge.... let's get real. The FA did not take the bag without the owners consent. The owner handed the bag to the FA, at the FA's request/instruction. To suggest the OP should go to the police and state that this was "theft" or taking the bag without the owners consent is ridiculous. The OP handed the bag to the FA!! The FA put the bag in the locker, according to the OP.

The scenario is that the seat belt signs were on and no one was allowed to get up. The OP retrieved the bag when the seatbelt sign went off and the purse was missing. Theoretically, this would mean that, as everyone was confined to their seats and not able to access to overhead locker, the only person who could have stolen the purse would be the FA. To do this, in front of whole plane load of passengers, quickly without being seen, defies credulity.

I suspect that the purse may have been lifted or stolen before getting on the plane, but was only noticed by the OP when she retrieved her bag. Notwithstanding this, at best she can claim negligence against BA, but there is no chance of proving theft.

The_Judge
Sep 25, 2011, 8:47 PM
Incidently, Judge.... let's get real. The FA did not take the bag without the owners consent. The owner handed the bag to the FA, at the FA's request/instruction. To suggest the OP should go to the police and state that this was "theft" or taking the bag without the owners consent is ridiculous. The OP handed the bag to the FA!! The FA put the bag in the locker, according to the OP.

Jimbo......you should read posts a little more carefully. Here is a snipet of what the OP stated and I put in bold some discrepancies between what you said happened and what the OP said actually happened.

[quote=Holidaylover]What has really upset me is that I was asked to give up my bag for it to be stowed in an overhead locker by a flight attendant who pointed out I was sitting in an escape isle and my bag could not be placed under the seat in front. She took the bag and stowed it as the seat belt lights were on and I was buckled in.

As you can see, the passenger did NOT willingly give up the bag NOR hand it to the flight attendant. This bag was taken without the passenger's consent.

jimworcs
Sep 25, 2011, 9:56 PM
Judge,
You appear to confirm my version!!

"I was asked to give up my bag"

She had a choice, she clearly elected to comply, the alternative being getting kicked off the plane.

"she took the bag and stowed it"

Is exactly what I said. It is bizarre to interpret that as theft....

The_Judge
Sep 25, 2011, 10:22 PM
You said earlier the passenger handed the bag to the FA. Clearly impossible as the passenger said the FA took the bag from under the seat while the passenger was buckled up.

Had a choice?? You say the passenger had a choice to give up the bag?? Are you on something? The passenger did not want to give up the bag but was clearly bullied by a overenthusiastic crewmember overstepping their bounds. Surely you agree with that.

Bottom line, from my interpretation of the complaint, the FA stole a bag from a passenger. File a police report.

Holidaylover
Oct 17, 2011, 10:00 PM
Thank you for your advices I have now decided to take BA to the small claims court Just to clarify I only saw two flight attendants go the overhead locker and I didn't think anything strange about this as I thought they were putting other peoples possessions up there. Also I went into my bag for sweets when I took my seat so I know the purse was in the bag when it was taken from me. I still cant believe this happened to me or how they did it. But I'm very upset of BA's treatment of me especially with the latest advertising campaign which says something like "To fly to serve" and makes me feel sick when it comes on. Still I take comfort in the fact we landed safely. Just to let you know I travelled to Cyprus in September and as usual had no problems at all, but I didn't take a handbag just in case. Thank you again for your advices.