Hold on tight to your hand baggage inflight, that’s the message this Christmas. Dragonair is working with police to tackle the problem of organised gangs of Mainland thieves operating onboard their flights. It seems they are targeting the rich pickings to be found in Asian passengers’ wallets and bags as they relax on flights, unaware that they are being robbed as they sleep. According to some of the airline’s pilots, the problem of organised Mainland gangs targeting hand baggage inflight is becoming increasingly serious.
The issue of theft onboard from overhead lockers and hand luggage is nothing new, but you rarely hear of it on Asian airlines.
Working with police
So I asked Dragoniar what measures they are taking to counter this? “Dragonair takes inflight security with high importance and has been working closely with police in facing the issue,” spokesman Ivan Chan tells me. Passengers need to be extra vigilant. Dragonair is striving “to raise the awareness of passengers in properly keeping their cabin baggage and personal belongings.”
Public announcements are being made by cabin crew during the flight, reminding passengers to take good care of their property,” he adds. Cabin crew are also watching out for any passenger behaving abnormally.
So keep your valuables close when flying this Christmas and don’t put expensive items in the overhead locker. If you plan to fall asleep, make sure you are well and truly attached to your purse wallet and mobile phone.
The Dragonair pilots say there is another lesser but how can we say it delicately - whiffy problem onboard - smelly feet. It seems many passengers – and yes, they specifically included our friends from China – take off their shoes and socks onboard and the results can be overpowering for people sitting around them. This is not the first time – remember when pop babe Britney Spears was told to put her shoes on when flying from Los Angeles to New York for the same reason.
I wondered how Dragon air would respond to this sensitive question. They replied very tactfully.
“Our cabin crew are well trained in handling different situations in-flight. We aim to provide a comfortable environment for all passengers onboard,” says Ivan. Very nicely put. “When comments are received regarding certain behaviours of passengers which may lead to disturbances to others, our cabin crew will handle promptly according to different scenarios.” This is a very nice way indeed of saying they take a dim view of passengers with cheesy feet.