Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm Baaack

Well, as promised I'm back and posting. Sorry for the delay but I got tied up with personal issues and my real job (changing companies is just one of the many things going on at the moment)

I'm going to have to go back through all of my posts and make a log of what I've written about and what's yet to be covered so I don't repeat myself but, having just returned from a trip to NY to catch up with an old mate, (we hadn't seen each other for thirty years), it might be appropriate to do one on luggage.

Many years ago when I was on "the circuit" (the name given to the group of guys who did executive protection for the Saudis et al in London) Heathrow airport was affectionately known as "Thief-Row" due to the group of thieves who "shopped" to order.

If you wanted a certain size coat, a particular camera or other electronics, you put your "order" in to a gang member at a certain pub out near Heathrow. The gang, all baggage handlers, would sift through every one's bags in the belly of the various planes and find your desired item. Once they'd found it, you'd be contacted and you would pick up your purchase. (The gang was eventually busted largely in part to the effort of another friend of mine who did security for British Airways)

In the subsequent investigation my mate told me that he gleaned the robbers went through all the expensive designer label bags first. They generally had higher quality gear in them, and more of it.

The lesson here, therefore, is obvious. Be careful of what bags you use when you travel. As a body guard we always advised clients to leave the expensive jewelry at home when you travelled abroad otherwise it marked you a potential victim. The same goes for your baggage. Do you have Luis Vuitton bags, Hartmann or maybe Coach? It's a red flag to a bull as far as a potential thief is concerned. Think about it. You've got a choice of a grungy looking backpack tied together with string, or an $8,000 Luis Vuitton, which one are you going to grab in the hopes of hitting the jackpot?

Save the designer stuff for that which you keep to hand, or for impressing the neighbors when you tote your own luggage in the car and drive somewhere. Flying commercial with it is just asking to be ripped off.

PS: I do have a Hartmann briefcase, but it travels with me as my carry on. In the belly of the beast i.e. my checked luggage was a very mundane, no name, cheap leather overnight bag.