CNN ran a front page story today about baggage handlers caught stealing from airline checked bags.
A CNN analysis of passenger property loss claims filed with the TSA from 2010 to 2014 shows 30,621 claims of missing valuables, mostly packed in checked luggage. The rest occurred at security checkpoints. Total property loss claimed: $2.5 million. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York topped the list of airports with the most claims of thefts from luggage, followed by Los Angeles International, Orlando International and Miami International, according to the data.
As I read the story, there was something that I wondered. I couldn’t find it anywhere in the reporting (even though it is credited to three journalists). So I looked this up myself:
Baggage handlers are paid an average of $11.92 an hour, a little more than $23,000 a year. The U.S. federal poverty line for a family of four is $24,250. A person in this income bracket qualifies for food stamps.
Maybe it’s a bad idea to put people who are paid below the poverty line in charge of making sure passengers valuables get on the plane safely.
This should at least be part of the discussion.