Although theft from their passengers is extremely rare, it is happened, according to readers of the BigChilli. In one curious case, a senior Thai businessman told us last year that his wife had lost a considerable amount of money while on a flight from the Middle East.
She suspected a member of the cabin crew after noticing him apparently rearranging her bags when the aircraft lights had been dimmed and she was half-asleep. Later, another reader contacted this magazine and also claimed that he had money stolen on a flight from the Middle East to Hong Kong.
Two different airlines, both based in the Middle East, are involved in the passengers’ allegations. Sometime later, the Thai lady forwarded us a report from the newspaper Gulf News that an Emirates steward had been accused of stealing cash from two passengers – not the people mentioned here. In that case, it was alleged in court that a 37-year-old crew member had stolen Dh9,000 (approx. 72,000 baht) and another $2,600 (approx. 78,000 baht) from the wallets of two Emirati brothers after they left their seats unattended during a Bangkok-Dubai flight.
Airport police were alerted about the incident upon landing. In its report on this incident, Gulf News said that initial police investigations found that an Egyptian flight steward had taken the cash from the wallets, after his fingerprints matched with those lifted from one of the wallets.
Despite police evidence, the steward denied theft and was subsequently found not guilty by judges in Dubai – “due to a lack of evidence.”
The second BigChilli reader was not the only passenger on his flight (not Emirates) to lose money. A Chinese traveler sitting two rows in front also reported cash theft. After the airline in question showed no interest in his case, and even suggested the man could have flushed the money down the toilet, he contacted the police in Hong Kong who told him they received reports of thefts of his nature four of five times a week on Middle East based flights.
“I will never fly on this airline which calls itself five-star again,” he said. The Thai businessman and his wife say they’ll choose Asian airlines in the future.