Souvenirs stolen from woman's luggage

March 26, 2009 8:51:28 PM PDT
Chances are you've dealt with lost luggage on an airline trip at one time or another, but you eventually get it back. We have a story of a local woman who got her luggage just fine, but some of her souvenirs from an overseas trip were missing.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

An HISD teacher is telling us that what she doesn't understand is with all the security measures that a passenger must endure at an airport, how is it that no one is really watching our luggage?

Madeline Hartwell can't get enough of the 1,100 photos she took during last week's trip to Europe. As an HISD teacher, she helped chaperone eight foreign language students from Barbara Jordan High School.

"We saw the Eiffel Tower, we went to London and Buckingham Palace. We saw the changing of the guards. We saw how they lived, how they went to school. They had a really, really great experience. I know I did as well," said Hartwell.

Along with sightseeing, they also had time to shop for souvenirs. Even the ten-hour British Airways flight from London to Houston went well. The trip seemed flawless. Until she got home, opened her disheveled luggage and searched for souvenirs.

"I had added extra tissue in between. The bags were there, but the items were gone," said Hartwell.

She said at least two other HISD chaperones were also missing items from their luggage. Hartwell said what's disheartening is the level of scrutiny passengers endure doesn't seem to apply to baggage handlers.

"All those security measures were taken for us, what security did we have for our bags?" said Hartwell.

She called customer service last Sunday and was told to file a claim on the website, which she did. However, Hartwell still worries that she and those two other teachers aren't the only victims.

"My concern is that something is going on. There is theft from within," said Hartwell.

We spoke with a representative from British Airways who told us they are reviewing the claim. He also said they do consider this claim to be criminal activity. They have started an investigation at Bush Intercontinental Airport including reviewing surveillance video from the baggage handling area on the night in question. If nothing turns up, then they will do the same thing at London's Heathrow Airport where the bags were originally checked in.

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