My best friend Aileen (her blog is Points and a Passport) and I travel together frequently. Both of us are constantly on the move, crossing paths in random cities around the world. While we both live busy lives, we still manage to stay connected on a daily basis, often talking travel and catching up with the usual girl talk.
She called me up this morning and told me a story that left me speechless. You hear stories about theft while flying every now and then, but never when it involves your very own friends and with this much drama!
You can read her story in her own words…
I was flying back from Phoenix to New York via Detroit on Delta yesterday. I settled into a Starbucks and got some work done on my laptop to pass the time before boarding. Eventually it was close to boarding time, so I gathered my belongings and headed to the gate. I knew the flight was fairly empty, so I chose a seat in the back so I could have the whole row to myself.
We were slow to take off, so I pulled out my laptop to continue working. Eventually I had to stow my belongings, and this is when I made a critical mistake. Instead of putting my MacBook back in its case, I left it out and simply pushed it under the seat in front of me.
As we ascended, I noticed that it had slid back to the row behind me, but I could still make out the corner of it. I figured I’d just grab once we reached a cruising altitude.
Roughly 4 minutes later, I noticed that it was no longer there, so I tried to get the attention of the only other person seated behind me- a man two rows back. I noticed that he wasn’t very responsive to my polite wave. He seemed tired and was focused on something else.
When we reached a level altitude, I took off my seatbelt and moved to the row behind me, and I still couldn’t find it. I then got down on all fours to continue searching for under all the rows behind me.
I then alerted the stewardess, and she and I looked around the back of the cabin. Searching and searching, panic began to set in. This isn’t a small iPhone, it’s a large MacBook Air computer. It’s difficult for a laptop to just go missing in such a confined space. After about 10 minutes of frantic searching, I started to sense there may be some foul play at work.
I asked politely if the man seated behind me had seen anything. He looked around his seat but then went back to playing on his phone. I mentioned to the stewardess that I had a feeling something wasn’t right. She scoffed at my suggestion and said it was impossible, and that I can’t look through others’ belongings.
I knew that but I figured I’d ask this one man just to rule it out. I asked if he could open his bag for my peace of mind. To my surprise, he agreed. He opened it very hesistantly though, putting his hand over a portion of it. “See nothing!”, he shouts. I saw only an iPad that wasn’t mine and a magazine, but as he went to close the bag that’s when I saw my laptop!
My MacBook has a small pink spot on the hinge from where I had spilled some nail polish a few months prior and there, plain as day, was the spot on the computer in his bag!
I instinctively yanked the MacBook out of his bag and opened it. The computer showed my login screen (password-protected) with my name on the front. I immediately showed it to the two stewardesses as he snatched it back from my hands. “You can’t steal things! That’s mine!”, he yelled.
“You have my laptop. It clearly says my name! Open it and you’ll see”, I retorted. Instead the man shoved it back in his bag.
I was in shock and visibly shaken at this point. I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t just concede that it was mine and give it back. I had never seen someone do that.
The flight attendants split off and one went to speak with him while the other stayed with me. She alleged that I had opened his bag without his permission. I hadn’t done anything of the sort. “He opened it!”, I said. I kept explaining that if he showed it to us again, it would say my name, and the whole issue would be resolved.
But they said they’re not allowed to ask him to show anything. My hands were shaking at that point. I couldn’t believe someone would so blatantly steal something even after being confronted with the truth. It frustrated me to my core that he lied to my face and still had my laptop.
I ended up sitting next to this very nice girl on the other side of my row who, like me, was stunned at the situation. She tried to calm my nerves, but I was scared he’d find a way to keep it. If you’re willing to have someone find out you’ve stolen and still insist it’s yours, you are obviously not a novice at thievery.
The next two hours were grueling. I kept looking back to check on him. I feared he’d try to wipe it clean, break it, or, if he knew someone on the plane, give it to them to hide. I tried to keep a close eye but the flight attendants wanted to keep us at least two rows apart and since he was behind, it made it difficult.
The head stewardess came over and said “trust me. If it’s yours, you’ll be fine”. But I just had this sense of uneasiness. Something felt off. She said that many thieves who are caught in the air tend to conveniently “drop” the item at some point during the flight. But I took frequent “bathroom” trips to check and couldn’t find anything on the floor.
As we got closer to Detroit my nerves started to really set in. When we finally landed that’s when things took a turn for the worst. I guess I won’t have to wonder anymore what happens when a crime is committed inflight. They make an announcement that everyone must stay in their seats, even upon gate arrival.
Then they wait for the police to come on board, and you are escorted up to the front. They also have additional ground crew there to handle the incident. On a positive note, if you want to get off before first class just get entangled in a crime and you’re good to go.
Of course you’ll have to contend with stares from fellow passengers as they try to deduce why you’re being escorted off by police. It’s truly an awful experience. You feel like you’ve done something wrong. And to think that all of this could have been resolved when I initially showed the laptop.
One cop was there to get the story from me, while the other was there to speak with the man. I know it’s just a laptop, but it was the entire situation surrounding it that was startling. I started hyperventilating as I told my story.
He asked if I had the serial number and that’s when I remembered that my roommate was home and she would be able to find the original box. I FaceTimed her and wrote down the serial number and handed it to the cop. “Yes! Finally this nightmare will be over”, I thought.
The man was standing about 20 feet away with the laptop. I could see the various smudges and that pink spot. I saw the cops looking at the number and then back at my laptop. But there was an uneasiness in the way they looked at the number I had given. Then they handed the laptop back to the man!
“The serial number doesn’t match”, the officer said. My heart sank to the pitt of my stomach. I was in utter shock. And then he added “when you open it it’s a white background with safari and some other things. There’s no login information like you had said”.
I wondered how that was possible. Was he really able to wipe it clean while up in the air? The officer said the man is alleging he had purchased it used from eBay and hadn’t loaded his information yet. I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck. I called my roommate frantically asking for other numbers on the box. She sent me pics of the numbers but nothing seemed to match.
I mentioned the nail polish mark, which was still visible. “I’m sorry. He said you saw it when you opened his bag and are claiming it’s from that.” It felt like I had been gutted. I felt like I was in one of those crime dramas where the innocent person is seen as the perpetrator and all of the evidence is working against them.
None of the numbers were right and both he and I had departing flights. The man kept urging them to let him go, that I was crazy and that I wanted his laptop. I started to wonder if I had gone crazy and lost my mind. Maybe it was all imagined. Maybe it really wasn’t my computer. Then one officer went back on the plane to double check but to no avail. The only laptop was this one. The pink mark was there. How could he also have that mark in the exact same spot?
I was frantically searching for ways to find my MacBook on my iPhone. Trying to use the “locate my MacBook” function but because there was no wifi connection for the MacBook, the locator wouldn’t work. My hands were shaking as I tried everything I could think of to prove it was mine. The cop said that if I couldn’t prove it soon they couldn’t hand it over.
I wondered if Apple had given me the wrong serial number from the start. I just wished so much that the stewardess had confiscated the laptop so that it wasn’t swiped and could be handled when we landed. That’s when one of the Delta staff suggested I check the serial numbers in my iTunes. He said that if my iCloud and iTunes were used on my MacBook the serial number should be there.
I quickly logged in on my iPhone but I hadn’t used that feature in years and when the iTunes security questions came up I was concerned Id have forgotten them after so much time. After all, I signed up for iTunes when I was 14. First security question “who was your first best friend?”. Security question two “in what city did your mother and father meet?”. I managed to input the correct answer. Boom.
I put in the answers and it went through! And there under MacBook serial number was a completely new number I hadn’t seen before! I showed it to the cops as they were closing up the man’s belongings.
“She has the number!” The officer announced to the other officer. A feeling of vindication washed over me. I felt like Tim Robbins at the end of Shawshank Redemption when he escapes into the rain. I knew I had been right!
I knew I wasn’t losing my mind! I was shaking as tears of joy sprang from my cheeks. Again I know it’s just a laptop but it’s the fact that this all unfolded in such a crazy way and I really thought my laptop would be stolen literally right before my eyes.
The police had me file a report and said that there’s still a chance I may miss my flight. Now that it was clear there had been a theft, it was a federal crime and the FBI would have to get involved. I filled out the incident report as we waited for the FBI.
An undercover FBI agent, who honestly looked just like any middle-aged passenger, came over to get the story. They had the man sit down and took his passport away. The FBI agent apologized for the crime that occurred.
I continued to fill out my testimony when he and the other officer looked at this man’s passport. He wasn’t American and was seen as a flight risk, I assume. As I handed the report over, the FBI agent yelled to the man to put his hands behind his back and read him his Miranda rights as they handcuffed him.
It was such a bizarre scene. The ground crew quickly escorted me to my connecting flight. I made it just in time. I couldn’t believe the whirlwind of emotions I experience all because of a this theft.
I’d like to say I feel sorry for the man but he had every opportunity to return it to me and the stewardess should have confiscated it. Instead he chose to wipe it clean and insist it was his.
I’m sure all of this isn’t worth the $700 or so he would have made if he sold it but hopefully he learned a valuable lesson and will think twice before he steals something inflight again. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m guilty simply because I’m getting work done on a flight!
*My roommate had mistakenly given me the serial number for my iPad Air not my MacBook Air which was the reason for the discrepancy.
**Also the man had wiped it clean. I lost all of the documents I had been working on for my travel blog, videos I had made and pictures I had taken on my MacBook. All of these things no longer exist. It’s a very sad and unfortunate event for me and hours and hours of work that I’ll never get back.
When Aileen sent me her story, all I could respond was, “Wowwwwwwwwwwww!!!!”. I can only imagine the panic she felt knowing that she caught another passenger with her computer, confronted him, and had to deal with the humiliation of looking like a crazy person in front of the crew and other passengers.
Getting escorted off of the plane by police officers, looking like a criminal, is just icing on the cake.
While she is grateful to be reunited with her laptop (which is now entirely deleted), I do have to say that I am surprised that the Delta crew didn’t handle the situation better.
I am not exactly sure what the correct procedure would be in a situation like this (maybe a flight attendant can chime in), but my gut is telling me that perhaps the crew did not take her theft seriously until it was too late. I’d be livid if I was to helplessly witness someone wiping my computer only a few feet away from me, and then claim it was theirs all along.
I guess the moral of this story is don’t assume that this could never happen to you. Often when I get up to go to the lav on a flight when I am traveling alone, I leave my phone, purse, laptop, and personal belongings at my seat. Aileen’s story is a reminder to be more vigilant and protective of my stuff.
Has another passenger ever stolen your personal belongings right in front of your face? What would you have done if this had happened to you? Would love to hear thoughts from readers, travelers, and flight crew.
Matt B says
I certainly empathize with your friend – horrible to have to go through this and glad it worked out in the end. But why don’t you think the Delta staff took her seriously if they called the cops to escort the two off upon arrival to get to the bottom of the situation? Seems pretty normal to me that they can’t really take sides. Granted, he used the opportunity to “wipe it clean” as you say which hurt her ability to prove it was hers, but hardly feels like they didn’t believe her considering they held up the entire plan to allow the police (who are better trained at this) to get to the bottom of the situation
Ray Ray says
Hey there. Crazy story with a happy ending. As a flight attendant myself, we have no power, authority or rights to “confiscate” or hold belongings from a passenger. We can “assist” and radio for the police to meet the flight. In 18 years of flying I’ve never experienced something like this and hope it never happens while I’m working a flight. I’m very glad she was able to make her connecting flight as well.
OH MY GOSH. I felt sick reading through this. So crazy.
Brian Cohen says
If I were you, I would contact corporate communications at Delta Air Lines and find out their official stance on a story such as this one; and then publish it in a future article.
You may want to also contact the corporate communications departments at other airlines and find out if their policies are any different than those of Delta Air Lines.
To round out the article, consult with at least one police officer, captain, or agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to find out what exactly are the procedures of the law in situations such as this one — as well as find out tips on what to do to prevent a similar situation from happening to you.
Aileen – I agree with Brian on this. You should definitely escalate this and get an official statement from Delta and the authorities. I’m sorry you had to go through this. This is what I fear the most when traveling since I carry my laptop with me everywhere. I’m glad you got it back and I hope the man gets the punishment he deserves.
WTF!!!!! Sorry but I could not hold my thought. While I read Aileen’s story above I was getting more nervous than while watching Criminal Minds or a scary movie. OMG!!!! I cannot believe this. I am glad she got her computer back but hope she learned how to take care of her stuff. I always keep my belongings on a backpack and have it locked. As for the contents of the computer I always have a backup of everything I have in there.
The issue is that the flight attendant was making accusations. She accused without actually seeing what occurred to the main FA. She alleged that I had opened the bag. I hadn’t. The man opened it and I saw it. And then she also prevented me from sitting across from him which was so upsetting. At least if I could sit across from him he wouldn’t do anything for the duration of the flight. She had no right to tell me I couldn’t sit there. She prevent not only me, but the girl I befriended on the flight, from sitting there.
Aileen; first I want to say that I am so sorry this happened to you. There is no way around saying that this was a terrible encounter for you. However, the flight attendant was correct in not placing you across from the man. Though I cannot speak to her demeanor, during situations of conflict, we are taught to keep the involved parties (including the girl you befriended) completely separate. Obviously you would not have acted this way, but imagine if you two were still in each other’s line of sight, you or he could have made threatening gestures or comments across the aisle that might have reignited a conflict or perhaps made it worse. When dealing with an altercation between two passengers, FA’s need to diffuse the situation completely, lest it escalate further. Unfortunately once the laptop was in his possession, the cabin crew had no authority to look through his bag. Even in the event of a medical emergency, most air lines say that the FA’s are not allowed to look in someone’s bag for ID without permission and a witness. Privacy is a very hot button issue today, and flight attendants have to toe the line as much as possible. Again, I am so truly sorry that this happened to you. As a fellow in the industry, it breaks my heart that you have had this experience, and I hope that perhaps you can get your data recovered. Good luck!
That’s why we state “put your smaller items under the seat in front of you and larger items in the over head bin. If you have done that, you would have stopped it from sliding behind you. On another note, I’m sorry this did happen and I am glad you got your belongings back. The FA did what they could. But assuming you opened his bag was wrong.
Yes let’s blame others for ur carelessness cuz that’s the right thing to do. Please take some self responsibility. They were indeed right to not allow you to sit near him. What if u tried getting the laptop back and started a fight. The crew downtown know if he really took ur belongings or if ur some crazy. Flight crews are not police and are always reffed to as fascists but here u are wanting the flight crew to act like fascists just to please u and make ur day bright and happy. Again take some self responsibility for ur carelessness and stop blaming the flight crew. Looks like someone needs a safe space.
There’s at least one nasty name-calling Dump supporter in every comment section. You bring shame upon yourself.
Why? Raul’s comment could be a little bit more polite, but everything he says is true!
I really feel sorry for the girl and that we have to deal with such criminals, but let this be a lesson for you.
Btw, I am from Europe and disgusted from the political correctness in this article:
The girl feels sorry for that criminal after all? Really??!!
Maybe make him a gift – let’s say a laptop – so he won’t feel bad?
Why she doesn’t describe this guy closer, at least the nationality? (I know the answer, thanks!)
My gosh, I hope Trump will reeducate you, speaking fearless the truth instead of being PC !
Civilized people use manners.
Uncivilized people rant about PC (Political Correctness).
Smart people see through Dump.
Stupid people see Dump as a heroic role model.
@ Paul… you know the nationality??? Or color perhaps?
You racist, undereducated, small minded little pr*ck. And how dare you attack a person who obviously went through a hard time for no fault of her own?
Trump supporters… Wow, you’re all the same, and you sicken me. I fear for the US.
Turn on hard drive encryption on our macbook. When file vault is turned on it is impossible to format the drive or reinstall the operating system without the password you create for the encryption. Below are the steps.
Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Security & Privacy.
Click the FileVault tab.
Click the Lock button, then enter an administrator name and password.
Click Turn On FileVault.
Restart your Mac.
Unfortunately encryption does not save you from wiping the drive. You can format it in the recovery partition. You also need to turn on the firmware password so they can’t boot into the recovery partition.
Mike Shannon says
Can you please give more detail on how you got the serial number? I’m lost and not sure I understand what you did. I’ve tried to replicate it and can’t.
On a browser, go to appleid.apple.com; login; scroll down to Devices; click on the name of the device (e.g. Mike’s MacBook), the S/N will be shown in the popup.
what a crazy story!! i’m glad she got it back and proved he was the crazy one.
Once I was on a flight and had my Sennheiser earbuds in my hand (which i usually don’t buy expensive things) and I fell asleep as we were taking off. It was just me at window and this white guy in a business suit in the aisle. I woke up midflight and realized I didn’t have my headphones. So I looked around for a bit but figured i’d find it at some point since we were about to land. I asked the people behind me if they saw anything and they said no. One would think if the person next to you is looking around for something they’d ask right? Oh no, this guy did not and kept working on his laptop. Eventually I asked him if he saw them and he said no. He didn’t even look around or at least pretend to look in your bag. I mean come on!
So when we land I asked the people behind me and they were so nice and even bent down to try to look. Nothing. We even took the cushions off. I told the flight attendants and they tried to look too. It was gone. They took my info just in case, but I never heard back.
Obviously someone took them and since then I have bought a pair that has a clip to my shirt so if I do fall asleep again, I know exactly where they are. I couldn’t believe someone totally stole my headphones! So I totally know how you’re friend felt and Im glad she has a happy ending.
One thing I don’t understand is that planes are small. Somone must have been sitting next to him while he was stealing the computer and erasing everything on it. If I was next to him I’d be like “what are you doing?” And I would have told the police what I saw.
This was a fairly empty flight and the one person who could have seen was a man on the other side and one row up. No one was seated in his row nor the row adjacent, sadly.
I’m curious. If you have to go testify against him, where would the trial be held? Sad story, I’m glad you caught him!
Not sure. It’s a federal crime but it was pretty clear he had committed a crime and lied to officers since I had the serial number. But I keep thinking about what would happen if I hadn’t gotten the number in time.
Whatever city you land in
Wow, what a story. So happy it worked out in the end.
My laptop was recently stolen in a different context…so I can empathize.
Halea coulter says
I inadvertently got a professor fired in college over a similar situation. All of the classes for my degree were housed in a small area where everyone knew everyone and I was there late one night and security came through and turned off all the lights. I went back to the common area and grabbed my bag, but in the dark, forgot my iPad. I didn’t have a need for it the next day until it had almost been 24 hours and by that time it was gone. I called apple and filed a report. It was either off or had been wiped and couldn’t be found. The next day, one of my professors who was just a shitty and irresponsible person came in with a brand new iPad that matched mine. Go figure. Except I kept my protected in a case and it didn’t have a case so there were non identifying marks. I let it go. Either it was just a coincidence, or it was mine but I had no proof. Fast forward 3 months, I’m collaborating on a project with this professor so I stop by her office to chat. And there it is. Sitting on her desk IN MY CASE THAT IT WENT MISSING IN! I freaked out and left until I pulled it together. Then I made up more stuff to talk to her about so I could look at it again. Sure enough. It was my purple case with its cracked binding and grey paint smudge on the cover from a project. I got the box it came in and handed it over to the dean of the department in a closed door meeting and just said, I’m not accusing anyone but it went missing and the iPad in her office matches mine and literally has my actual case on it. She then contacted security, who apparently searched her office when she wasn’t there and then forced her to hand it over. They asked if I wanted to press charges and I said no. She was a selfish person but she had kids at home. But she did quit that day. And not that I know a lot about the faculty relationships but I heard that, that day, my advisor was so happy he was practically skipping down the hall with glee. Moral of the story is, don’t be a fuckwad.
This shows the importance of having a password on your computer and having backups.
I am glad this criminal wad arrested. He hopefully will be given the maximum time in jail, where he won’t be able to steal any more computers.
I did have a password on my computer. It was on the login screen which I was showing to the Flight Attendants. Unfortunately they chose not to look. I couldn’t believe it either. Apple told me that while in flight he opened up another portal and used that one to wipe all of my data and basically start the computer over again fresh.
Yes I really hope he is. It’s definitely wrong what he did and do it so blanatanly.
Emily Garrigan says
Terrible situation, shows off the worst in people!
I understand, though that the flight attendants are not cops, and really cannot do anything except call the real cops and let them do their job when the plane lands.
The last thing you want is an altercation on a confined space like a plane, which is why the flight attendants are taught not to get involved.
The crew handled this volatile situation perfectly!
A few questions (in hindsight of course):
When you grabbed the MacBook from the thief in the first place, and he insisted it was his – couldn’t you, knowing it’s yours, refuse to give it back to him, ignore him, and walk back to your seat with your laptop? How did it end up in the thief’s possession again?
Yes of course I wanted it once I had it. he yanked it back out of my hands. And alleged that I was stealing. I was in complete and utter shock and the FAs said there was nothing they could do about it. It was his for the duration of the flight because I had taken it out of HIS bag. It was heartbreaking. The whole situation was so awful to see him flat out lie and then have it back.
Should have kept it secure. As far as flight crew knows ur a crazy lady trying to steal a laptop. Seems to me ur not willing to take responsibility for ur carelessness and want to put all the blame on flight crew should have put ur SS number on it as well. Did no one teach u any common sense?
Raul did nobody teach YOU how to spell? You’re probably the dick head who stole it in the first place
Wow! I think I’ll add a pic of my serial number of my laptop to go along with the pic of my passport from now on.
After reading your story I will ensure I record SN#s of my devices; turn on encryption mode on my device.
I have personally had my belongings stolen right under my nose . Its one of the most troubling experiences when your mental agility is questioned.
Glad your story ended on a positive note.
That’s an excellent idea. I plan to do the same.
what country was he from? or are you too Democrat to say?
I would take a guess of a 3rd world country? and Going to Detriot.. Hmm I think we know where he came from
Ignorant asshole comment.
Really? Such an ignorant comment.
Truth Hurts says
Sounds like another case of consumers using technology that they don’t fully understand. You wouldn’t leave your car unlocked, why do you leave your computer unlocked and / or unencrypted? This man should never have been able to wipe the data from anyone’s computer that took that time to set up the appropriate security measures.
Also, in this day and age, the thought that anyone has “lost” their data outside of maybe the last few minutes of work that weren’t synced to the cloud because someone maybe wasn’t connected to WiFi, is ludicrous.
I’m sure people reading this comment will accuse me of blaming the victim, but the simple fact is there are easy steps you can take to prevent some of these things that happened. Seems like she’s complaining about Delta’s procedures and them not confiscating the laptop, to make up for her own lack of preparedness.
To answer your question, as the person who went through this, I did have a password set up. I fully understood iCloud and how this work. I took all precautions but I also didn’t assume something like this would happen. that someone I’ve learned that it’s actually very easy for them to wipe out all of your info and start fresh. He was able to do it while on the flight. I believe you press Control + R and then you have the option to wipe out the other portal (my info) and use an additional smaller portal which is the one he was using when I finally got back my laptop. I do have pictures and contacts saved onto the cloud which I was able to recover. But anything that was on that computer alone is gone.
oh look here, a captain hindsight who seems to know everything. but did you know that even if you lock a car, a thief can still access it? did you know that if I have physical access to your computer and enough time, not only can I wipe your device, I can likely social engineer your pw. if you know anything about security,you know that nothing is 100% secure. I can flash an encrypted drive in minutes.
oh and the cloud thing, a lot of people prefer not to use the cloud. although I recommend backups, I don’t recommend cloud as often because technically Apple will own your backup and they can mine through it if they prefer. much like how Google owns your Gmail data. consumer cloud is good for personal stuff but I keep all my business data on a private cloud with specific terms.
as far as the laptop placement is concerned, I’ve had numerous FAs tell me to put my laptop under the seat in front of me.
you sir are a great candidate for captain hindsight’s backfill. I see no lack of reasonable expectations/actions from the victim. she acted the way most people should act. only fault I see is the victim is unreasonable and somewhat selfishly blaming the FA. is it the restaurants fault if you get robbed in their parking lot? no. they will do their best to ensure a safe environment but they are not cops.
Holly Johnson says
This is insane, but a great reminder that people can and will steal during a flight. Thanks for sharing.
A Delta FA says
I am a flight attendant for Delta. I am very sorry this happened to you. As I was not there, I can’t speak to my colleagues responses in this situation. However, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of placing your item IN a bag before placing them under your seat for takeoff. Laptops are especially notorious for slipping and sliding quite a few rows away during take off and landing. Our announcements actually say that computers need to be “stowed in a bag under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin” for taxi, takeoff and landing. This situation is a very good reminder of why that sentence is in our announcements. Please understand, I’m not shaming the victim here. I feel horrible for her. I’m just reminding everyone to please stow items in a bag and don’t leave them loose. The WILL slide on takeoff. Also, as a side note… They can’t go in seat back pockets either. They are a fire hazard due to the lithium ion battery.
I’m so happy you got your laptop back and am so sorry that this situation wasn’t handled differently while on board. Again, I’m sorry it happened at all. Take care!
Thank you so much for this. I feel much better now knowing my lenovo laptop will be safe when i fly to turkey in july
What a crazy story. So sorry that happened to your friend and so glad that the thief was caught! But to say that Delta didn’t take the situation seriously? They had the authorities meet the flight at the gate. And it was a Delta staff that suggested another way to access the serial number. It sounds like they handled it in a professional manner. Kudos to Delta.
My goodness, that is an insane story! I would say all is well that ends well but that is entirely a bittersweet feeling, I know what it’s like to lose hours/days of writing and that’s something you’d never get back, not to mention the emotional ups and downs. Honestly, I would probably clock the guy and get my laptop back despite the stewardess, I’d rather risk being escorted off the flight for causing a riot than being called crazy and have them take they thief’s side, then go through hours of agony. Unbelievable, but yes goes to show you noone has your back but yourself and you never know the intentions of other people.
Why would you put the laptop under YOUR seat instead of the one in front of you? The space under your seat is for the passenger behind you.
Seems weird that a supposed veteran traveler wouldn’t know this. Had the laptop been under the seat in front of you this would never have happened.
I put it in the one in front. Perhaps the wrong language. I had some food and i put it vertical next to that. We were about to take off and I was finishing writing something so I quickly put it in the seat in front. That’s why I was surprised when we were ascending that it wasnt there. I did not put it under my seat. But when I saw it had slid it was under the seat behind.
Another Delta FA says
you shouldn’t have had your laptop out once the boarding door is closed…
Your laptop should be in a bag instead of on the floor… as the fa said when the door was shut…
You should have sat in your assigned seat instead of a row to yourself…
You should have taken some personal responsibility… what exactly did you want the flight attendant to do? Sit and watch the man instead of taking care of the other passengers? Then they would write an article about how the FAs didn’t do service because they were back talking to some guy the whole flight…
I’m getting really annoyed with people blaming the FAs and airlines for their own mishaps… don’t get me wrong–I feel bad that this happened to your friend.. but if they were following — any of the rules — this would not have been possible. Also… from a FAs perspective.. you see a girl yelling at a man to open his bag and causing a disturbance… they can’t assume she is in the right. The man could have been innocent. According to the article (which was pretty spotty on details until they were called out) the FA wasn’t there when it happened.
the most FAs can do is have the police meet the flight. And they did. I’m sorry that your friend wanted more rules broken for her.
I’m glad she ended up with her laptop back… maybe next time when the flight attendants say put your laptops in a bag under the seat in front of you she will listen
Flight Attendants should have good interpersonal skills. It sounds like you don’t. Maybe you should find a different line of work.
Yep, that was a typical US FA. Disagreeable, sullen, and unhelpful. Delta, American, United. All.
Exactly! Another FA with a bad attitude, big surprise! Maybe boarding area can interview her on “what passengers do that annoys FA’s” like pushing the service button lol please if you are so annoyed with your job, do the passengers a favor and quit!
OMG! I was shaking as I read this story. To have anything taken from you is such a violation. To add insult to injury is the fact that your friend was not believed initially and had to jump through several hoops to reclaim what was rightfully hers! I felt her pain!! I am glad Aileen got her laptop back and I hope Karma repeatedly serves the thief a dose of his own medicine!
Thanks for sharing this story, Angelina! This is a perfect, yet sobering reminder of how we should all be mindful of our belongings.
Aileen: As I read this over and over again I am still in disbelief about what happened to you. However, I am curious about the part when you asked the thief to open his bag and he did. What did he know about the FA’s reactions that you didn’t? I mean, he knew he had stolen your laptop. He knew if he opened his bag you would see it. He knew if they asked you to log in on it it would work. Thus, did he just gambled nothing would happen or he knew his rights and that the FA’s could not ask him to take the computer out to prove it was his? I am intrigued since it seems he is a professional thief so he probably knows way more than us. also, you said the computer showed your login screen and name on it? Does that mean you did not have a password? I am not sure how could he log in without having the password and be able to delete all its contents without it asking for your (the owner) approval.
Again, I am really glad it worked out for you and I hope you become way more vigilant from now on.
The more I read it the more I realize all the detail I left out. Yes, I had a login screen with a sunflower, my name, and the password. I kept emphasizing my name when showing the airline stewardesses because it was right there as I was showing them before he yanked it back out of my hands.
The reason I think he showed me what was in his bag was because he’d look guilty otherwise. He was sleeping so I kept trying to speak to him to wake him up, eventually he had to acknowledge that I was trying to talk to him. He probably hoped that if he showed the bag I’d be off his case. And at first I didn’t see anything because of the way he showed it but then I saw just a tiny part of the hinge and it had the pink spot and immediately I knew.
The FAs are really what gets me upset. They said I couldn’t have it back and that they couldn’t check to verify but the one said not to worry, when we land it will all be taken care of. But while on the flight he wiped it clean. You don’t need to know my password to wipe it. As I learned yesterday, it’s actually very very easy to wipe a laptop’s data.
Hey. Sorry to hear about this crazy story,glad it turned out ok!
What’s Aileen’s blog? I like her style.
Thanks so much! I am currently working on it. I had a lot of work that was saved in a documents folder which unfortunately somehow didn’t backup to the Cloud (still trying to figure out why it wasn’t). It’s unfortunate that you tend to notice the problems after something terrible, like this, occurs. So I’m starting over a bit. But it will be called Points and a Passport. I’m really excited. Traveling is something I truly love and I want to share my experiences good or, in this case, bad with others!
That is an insane and very well written story. How incredible. Your poor friend. I know there is a lesson in here for me, that is for sure! Thanks for the morning read. Glad it worked out.
John P says
I have to ask why would stow something under the seat and not in front of you? If someone was behind you they would have use that same spot to stow there stuff. I have asked people before to not put stuff under there seat because it was my space.
Sorry that I wrote this incorrectly. I did stow it in the seat in front. Not in my seat. But it did slide back from there to the seat behind.
Upgraded to business class on an AA flight from London last year, I got up to use the lav right before landing. The flight attendants were collecting the headphones -Bose noise cancelling. The attendant asked for mine and I pointed to my seat and indicated that the headphones were there on the seat (I was standing in the aisle). When I came back to my seat, the headphones were gone. Except that the flight attendant then returned and again asked for the headphones, which she said she had not collected.
I know that the guy seated next to me swiped them as he didn’t help to look and ignored my requests for help. While the flight attendants were not accusatory, they did repeatedly ask me for those headphones and I’m sure they thought I had swiped them. I am now so paranoid about leaving anything in my seat!
Pam, I know that feeling so well now. Feeling like you’re guilty when you did nothing wrong. It was shocking for me. I, too, leave my belongings at my seat when I use the restroom never thinking that anyone would take something. After this incident, I have a whole different perspective. I never thought something like that could happen to me.
How stupid you must be to put a notebook under the seat… I hope you have learned the lesson. Furthermore, you must need clicks badly to post this soap…
Read the comment idiot. She did not put under her seat. Pay attention.
Looks like she was successful because she got you to click on it! Too bad you felt the need to leave a rude comment as well.
I have to share two stories similar to this. Three years ago on a Flt going into LAX (I can’t remember original departure city) I had an incident of theft. I was the Flt attendant working. During boarding a passenger (we will call her Jane) told me she had dropped her phone off her tray table during boarding and couldn’t find it. Because there were people in the aisle it may have been kicked away. We all looked and asked everyone in the area. No phone and it was time to take off. After takeoff we all looked thoroughly with no results. Jane told me she thought she saw a young women pick it up. I thought she was being paranoid. I asked her if she could describe her. Once I had a description and we were done with the service I went to talk to her. This was very awkward but necessary to appease Jane. She was starting to get angry. I asked this young girl (25) if she knew anything. She said no. After a back and forth with Jane I asked young girl to bring her bag into galley so we could look together in case she had the same phone and she may have accidentally put it in her bag. Again I was doing this to calm Jane. The girl emptied her only bag onto blanket I had placed on floor. She had 2 devices. One very similar to missing phone. I took it to Jane who told me it looked just like hers but not hers. Young girl went back to seat and I was done. Jane was not. She insisted we have police meet flight in LA. The police came and went through bag again, no phone. By this time the young girl was getting angry as she might miss her international connection. The police released her and I helped her get a cart to take her to her connecting flight. Apoligizing the entire time. As I was getting onto the employee bus I ran into my co-workers from flight. They had told me that they had found the phone in the trash in bathroom. I felt terrible. I believed this young girl stole the phone on the flight from Jane. I don’t think the police had enough proof that the young girl stole the phone and was never prosecuted. I will be more proactive in the future.
The other incident was 5 years ago. I noticed my wallet was missing on a flight I was working. My bag was behind the last row of seats by the bathroom. After I got off I noticed wallet missing. A few days later I got a call from a women that said she found my wallet on the floor. Why she didn’t hand it to one of the FA’s always bothered me. I asked her on the phone to send it to me and I would pay the postage. I had $150. cash and credit cards. She told me she would send it and 3 months later, no wallet. I finally told her I would let her keep the cash and then send her a reward after receiving it. The wallet came finally. Sad. Basically she stole wallet and wanted more that $150. I now put my wallet in the galley behind supplies.
I am sorry for what happened and it sounds incredibly. But I wouldn’t know what to think of the friend…incorrect number in such a situation? Omg….thats what I call help from a friend.
Thank you for sharing! You are so brave for dealing with this. I am appalled at how the Delta FAs handled the situation. This post reminds me of Expert Vagabond’s story of tracking his stolen laptop in Panama. Thank God you got yours back before having to resort to this, but for him, using Prey Project helped get his laptop back!! Read the full story here: https://expertvagabond.com/tracking-stolen-laptop/
I’m sorry that happened to you. It really does suck that he wiped everything. I’m also glad you got your laptop back. But why did you refer to his ethnicity? They took him away because he was a thief not because of his race. And your assumption that he was a flight risk and desire to point that and the fact that he had a passport, when it contributes nothing to your overall story of theft is a prime example of the lite-racism (whether intentional or subconscious) that is so wrong with the country these days. Not saying you intended it to come out that way, but that’s how it reads.
I am so sorry for the loss of all your data. That is always my biggest fear of losing an electronic, it’s far more valuable than the laptop itself. Now I don’t feel so crazy for frantically checking my carry-on before they open the doors. I do it everytime if there is even the smallest possibility someone could have taken something.
I was working on a flight as a flight attendant and a passenger decided to steal from us! This person or persons went through our bags and stole all of our passports, expensive sunglasses, money, wallets and other personal items. I learnt to lock up my carry on bags and personal items because as crew we can’t always keep an eye out on our stuff.
Crappy situation but preventable. Put it away properly in the case. Secure your computer so it can’t be wiped easily. Also, why didn’t you show them the charger from your bag and ask the man where his supposed macbook charger is?
Hindsight is always 20/20. It was pretty much an empty flight, especially the last few rows. I didn’t even know the man was behind me until the second time I looked back as we were ascending. And my laptop was secured. It was password protected. I didn’t know there’s a recovery database that thieves can tap into and essentially erase what was originally there. It’s meant to help if you have a virus. You can wash out the virus and then reload your apple info. The man at Apple said he essentially went into that portal and cleared the other one (all of my data).
And yes I did! Didn’t mention it but I did show my charger. He pulled out some iPhone chargers while I had the real charger. But that isn’t proof the computer belongs to me. It’s just proof he doesn’t have the charger on him. Plus I believe he said he left the charger in his checked bag. I know it seems so obvious he’s lying but that unfortunately didn’t do anything to help. It was so frustrating. You can’t imagine the frustration I was feeling.
Tom K says
I’m glad things worked out in the end and hope your story serves as a caution for others! As was mentioned, it is entirely possible for ANYONE to easily reset the password on a Mac if they know how as I am sure the thief you encountered knew. This can be prevented by enabling file vault: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/prevent-your-mac-password-from-being-bypassed/
I keep all of my personal device serial numbers in Note in iCloud as well as Evernote. This includes my cameras and other high value items. As crazy as it sounds I also have photos of all of my luggage.
I used to do a lot of international travel for business so I registered all of my personal devices with US Customs using CBP form 4457. This serves as protection against less than honest customs officials in other countries who may try to “tax” you for your own items unless you can prove you entered their country with those items. It’s a PITA initially as you have to register the items in person at a US Customs office but has proven handy for me personally.
I thank you on behalf of the entire Web!!
…in this day and age of ppl suing and having rights…how could ANYONE blame the flight attendant in this scenario….they are NOT there to guard or secure your possessions…many times they are ignored and abused simply for doing their job…when you are 30,000 ft in the air options are limited and it makes common sense to separate the two parties involved…the funny thing about ALL of this is by your own account you assumed since your laptop that YOU did NOT properly secure was password protected, that upon landing you could prove ownership….IS it possible the flight attendant assumed the same…I don’t think the requirement for the flight attendant position requires an IT Degree…this was an unfortunate horrible experience but to BLAME in any way the crew…who by the way…still had other pax and a job to do as well as care for others safety and the safety of the cockpit you’re not being rational…accept your blame in this, continue to press charges against the CRIMINAL…and add this to your book of life lessons… (don’t turn into the criminal by seeking to pass blame on the airline…I’m sure they made announcements on the proper stowage of YOUR property) #safetravels
The flight crew appears to have handled the situation very well. They have no real authority to detain people or resolve such disputes. The crew’s highest priority is a safe flight and that means descalating situations in the air that can be better handled on the ground by the proper authorities. A physical altercation could have resulted in a diversion or much more serious event for the flight- risks hardly worth taking in the air over a laptop. The confrontation of this person was best suited to the ground with the proper authorities and the flight crew handled everything incredibly well.
As a flight attendant for over 20 years I’ve never heard of this scenario. I cannot speak for the crew but it would be a very tricky situation. Especially since we cannot open up someone’s luggage. In defense of the crew I often have passengers accuse other passengers of stealing their “fill in the blank” only for me to find it anywhere from the bathroom to under the seat cushions. I so sorry you had to go through all that.
An adult says
I’m still waiting for her to stop with the excuses, pointing fingers at the flight attendants (not stewardesses) and take some adult responsibility and say that it was her fault for not securing it properly. If something is that important to you, put a little effort into taking proper care of the item. Stop being the “victim” and start being an adult. Welcome to the new generation of its someone else’s fault. Own your sh**.
Sorry, but true adults don’t treat others like you do. Please stuff your attitude.
Hey ” An adult says, F*cK You.
Not for the reasons you did.
As a former Federal Air Marshal (FAM) if a FAM was on board they would have had the authority to confiscate the computer at the time of the allegation. The same can be said of any Federal Agent on board.
However, as far as I know the Flight Attendant (FA) followed her protocol. FAs are not authorized to investigate allegations of theft. Even as a FAM, I would have confiscated the laptop and had the Captain notify the police to met the plane upon landing. Other than law enforcement on board, I believe the Captain is the only individual who could have ordered the laptop confiscated.
You knew without a doubt that you were telling the truth but as far as a FAM is concerned it is he said/she said short of any corroborating testimony from an eyewitness. If the FA listened to you and you were found to be lying then the FA would be opening themselves and Delta to lawsuits.
Your situation was most unfortunate. I wonder if someone might have observed him taking the laptop or messing with it after the fact but was afraid to get involved. I do hope you thanked the Delta Agent that gave you the suggestion about the iTunes. I would also hope that you would send Delta Airlines a message saluting that agent that gave you the suggestion because it was obvious that he believed you. The law enforcement agents probably believed you also but their hands were tied once you provided them with incorrect serial number and the thief seemed to have an answer why he did’nt know it.
In your response to Delta I would recommend that you insist that the thieving pasenger be forever banned from Delta flights.
Nothing would prevent you from taking a photo of the perpetrator, even if photo is unwanted as you are both in a public space. Photo would provide other avenues of recourse.
Glad you got it back.
It is sometimes possible to recover files after they have been deleted. Google “data recovery software for macbook” and try some of the options you find. The free versions sometimes shows you what can be recovered, then you can decide if its worth paying for the full versions. Good luck.
Rob S. says
This is exactly why I throw punches first, and ask for forgiveness later. If she had gone bezerk on him and started beating him, they would have landed the plane immediately.
A Macbook , a smartphone are almost like cash : easy to sell for a significant profit . Such items should not be carelessly handled or readily displayed any more than a handful of 100s . That apple logo says “I’m worth more for resale. ‘ to many covetous eyes .
I would bet money that this brazen fellow is an experienced criminal who knew what to do and could not resist an easy handout.
Absolutely! I think he was experienced and knew exactly what he was doing. The fact that he knew to wipe it means this likely isn’t his first offense. It was an empty flight. I normally do put it in its case but I didn’t know anyone was seated behind me until it had already slid back. If it had been a packed flight I would of course have stowed it in the case. There also would gave been three people behind me if it did slide that I could immediately alert. Not just one person, who turned out to be a thief.
I am so sorry you had to experience this sad incident. I am glad you stood by your beliefs and had the bad guy arrested. It is very unfortunate that we have to deal with so many dishonest people and I hope they get what they are deserved.
Wow. I’m so glad you got your property back! I read your well-written true crime post hoping all was going to work out. Through your trama there are some useful tips and experiences by others from which to learn.
“Possession being 9/10 of the law” when confronting thieves (after the fact) isn’t necessarily so considering that they are also pathelogical liars. So we have to be smarter or stronger than them.
Unrelated to air travel but still about theft, while with my wife in Barcelona, I was mugged on a subway by a couple of pick-pockets, but managed to throw enough elbows to barely keep my wallet. And I always take necessary precautions. They didn’t ask, they didn’t care – it was just my turn.
My point is, doing all we can to prevent calamities is just that: A measure of prevention but not a guarantee.
On your flight, that someone would conduct themselves in such a blatantly criminal way is appalling. So thanks Aileen, for getting this perp registered in a criminal data base.
Wow. Just wow. I’m so glad Aileen got her laptop back but what a terrible ordeal! I use a Time Capsule to automatically back up my laptop, so when I had mine stolen (different situation but still upsetting) I could just use a previous backup to put everything on the new laptop.
Ideally you wouldn’t have people stealing laptops though. Crazy that even after she confronted him (which was pretty gutsy) he flatly denied everything. Good for her that she didn’t give up even when the police were about to release the crook. Yay for a happy ending!
Wow, what a story! I’m so glad it had a happy ending. I had to skip to the end to see if it ended well because it was so upsetting to read. I have a similar story but in the opposite fashion. My wife and I boarded a Southwest flight only to realize my iPhone was missing from my pocket. We could only assume it had fallen out sometime during boarding. My wife used her phone to call mine and was surprised that someone answered! The person on the other end identified herself as a Southwest employee and indicated they found the phone in the seating area by the gate. When boarding was complete the phone was brought on board and a FA brought it over to me.
I read a story a few years ago about someone who left their iPad on a flight. When she inquired they were told that no iPad was found. She went to the police who were able to use the FindMyiPad signal to locate it. They found it at the home of one of the flight attendant’s. The attendant said she was planning on returning it the next day, but police saw that she had already set up a new user account under her name and had purchased things on-line. They arrested her at her home.
Aileen, thanks so much for being open enough to put this out in public, and thanks Angelina for publishing it.
I’m sure it’s difficult to deal with the few rude comments from our disfunctional American family. I apologize for the less enlightened, and for the newly empowered name-callers.
David Crane says
I was mesmerized by this well-told story – and not usually a reader of comments – I am a little shocked at some of the rude comments made. Of course most of the comments were helpful or sympathetic.
To add a lighter note I would like to share this story. As a soldier in Korea we shared the barracks with South Korean nationals. I was about to leave the post to take some country-side pictures with my rather expensive camera. I went to the latrine and when I came back the camera was gone. I looked everywhere. A few Korean soldiers were nearby. I asked them if they knew anything about it. They denied any involvement. To make matters more suspicious, they said no one came near my bunk. After looking around again, I finally called the military police and made a report.
Eventually, I gave up and decided I would just go without my camera. I picked up my helmet and surprise – there was my camera- just where I hid it under my helmet.
Now I am leaving the post through security. I notes that everyone was being thoroughly searched – looking for my camera. You already know that I am absent minded. I forgot to tell security that I found my camera. Instead of facing the M. P., I decided to turn around and phone in the updated information.
Unfortunately, the perceptive sentries saw me and my camera make a suspicious u-turn. One of them decided to go after me. When I realized he was fast approaching from the rear, I decided to do the only logical thing – run away. I’ve never won a race in my life and I didn’t that day either. A very embarrassing day which included apologizing to the Korean nationals for falsely accusing them.
Still forget things but not, I guess, old stories.
Last year in December I took a red-eye flite from Seattle—Boston. I was seated between 2 nice young University students. I went to the lavatory a couple of times. Of course, I left my belongings in my seat including my purse which I had stowed under the passenger seat ahead of me.
When we get to Boston, I needed to make a phone call—and that is when I discovered that my wallet was missing as well as my brand new passport!! The only culprits could be my seatmates or the person sitting in front of me.
I asked the JetBlue attendents to help me. They basically only politely asked the possible culprits if they had seen my wallet or passport—but did not ask them to open their bags, etc…. I was FURIOUS with the JetBlue flight attendents!! The attendents suggested that I must have lost the items someplace else. They were NOT helpful in any sense at all. And allowed my thief to leave the plane and disappear.
Later that day, when calling all of my credit cards to cancel them—–I found out that the thieves had rented an Airport Rental Car and gone on a college buying spree. They bought expensive ipads, laptops, iphones, and made a stop at Nordstroms to be fashionable college students. They also stopped at the Harvard University Co-op Store. I had forgotten to ask them which college they attended in Boston—could they have been Harvard Students??
So thieves can be young innocent-looking college girls!
What can we as Passengers do when we know we have been robbed in-flite?? Flite Attendents are NOT helpful!!
Surely stealing my passport must be a serious crime??
Waiting for your kind reply, Kim
Robert Frank says
The FA could have insisted the Mac be stored away in the overhead bin and then have the police handle it at landing. That wouldn’t be taking sides, just making sure police settle the case. Once there is an accusation, there is a legal case to be settled.
All of us occasionally make decisions that aren’t the smartest.
I don’t understand the feelings of guilt by the victims. No reason to feel guilty when dealing with scum like the vile foreign passenger.
Same for the person who felt sorry for the professor who robbed the device from that person. By not pressing charges against that professor/thief, it is likely that person will victimize another person. It is ones civic responsibility to your fellow citizens to make sure that person has a criminal record in order to protect others. Most likely, the University settled with the professor and will still even give a letter of recommendation for the (uncharged) crook.
I agree. I hadn’t even thought of that. The FAs could have simply requested he store it overhead until we land since there is a theft reported. This would have at least prevented him from having access to the laptop for the remainder of the flight and mitigated the situation.
Its unlikely he would have done so even if they did make that request. He knew the police would be at landing and he needed to remove the evidence that it was yours (your logon). Thus he did what he needed to do, and the FAs could not have stopped him.
People can be pretty self righteous when they hear a story like yours, which I dont think is right, but you also are coming across like you believe the FAs didnt do enough for you. It strikes me as if you feel entitled. Imagine the opposite scenario where you were a FA and you saw a man grab a laptop from a woman and insist that she stole his laptop. Would you honestly feel you could take a side and intervene with the device? What do you think proper training would call for in this hostile situation? These are FAs not law enforcement.
Nonsense. FAs enforce regularly.
Wow ! That’s one Crazy story !
What I always have done with things like lap tops as well as other common devices of mine is to remove the battery and scratch my name into the metal or plastic of the item .
I actually saw in a movie where one guy was trying to steal another guy’s horse , so the guy tells the sheffif take off the saddle , my name is scratched on the underside , and that proved his ownership .
And I thought, hey that’s a good idea !!!
What a story!!! I’m happy you got it back and so happy he got arrested. That guy was very belligerent and experienced. I applaud your behavior. I’m afraid he would have seen far more of scene from me. I might have poked his eyes out. I also would have had the whole plane knowing he took it. Their opinion of my mental health would not be my concern. I do worry a bit on flights where people sleep. Go girl!!!!
Barry L says
I can see why you’d be upset about this. Your story kept me in suspense until the end
A technology suggestion for you. Have you considered clouded storage space? Drop box, One Drive, Google Drive, and Apple iCloud are great places to store / sync your documents, photos, etc.
If you a an iPhone / iPad / Mac Book user then Apple’s iCloud Drive is a pretty seamless experience.
I personally save all my documents in the, that way I can access them from any device and never lose anything.
Let us know what happens to that sc-m bag theif.
Sorry that happened to you. Such a terrorist will go to hell. Hes lucky that flight was empty. Otherwise, one additional passenger would have also been taken into custody by the FBI for aggravated assault or even 2nd degree murder. The guy delivering counter-terrorism on your behalf regardless of laptop value would have went to prison with a big smile.
But as a FYI for you, a password is completely useless. Think of it as a small key to your Tri-State mansion after you make it on the H-Wood A-List big screen. Something so weak would never protect your data.
All Macs include a built-in password reset utility to bypass all preset passwords and enter Recovery Mode. Dont ask us why. We dont use Macs.
The CMD and R keys you speak of is to initiate this utility. Therefore, you must enable two security features that nobody uses. FileVault Disk Encryption. Firmware Password.
Sounds like the criminal used the Recovery Utility to wipe your hard drive clean, but how did you handle your laptop afterwards? Did you request for expert advice? Sorry we didnt respond earlier but your data is still recoverable. However, if you have already used your laptop with a new OS install for a prolonged period of time, you may have already overwritten your files.
Those involved in cyber-warfare (e.g. NSA/FBI) know that data can never be permanently deleted. Only destroyed. This is why the Department of Defense previously utilized the DoD 5220.22-M software based data sanitization standard for various data destruction programs to overwrite existing information on a hard drive and prevent leaks of classified information. This is now obsolete. Total destruction is required because data is still recoverable.
Please look into data recovery options and dont listen to the Apple Genius because theyre not.
We are Anonymous, We are Legion, We do not Forgive, We do not Forget, Expect Us.
How’s grandma’s basement? You know you can go outside and get some sunlight and exercise sometime
LAX to SAN on China Southern. Terrible flight for many many reasons (filthy lavs lacking supplies at end of flight being one…. I was the hero when I came back from the galley with four rolls of tp in my arms)…
iPhone from seat back when I was off playing hero. Didn’t realize it until
I was at immigration. Almost impossible to get back to the gate. Even then, I couldn’t get in th flight to look for it. Not sure if it was pax or ground crew. And forget trying to get help from the airline or airport. It was useless. Made for an interesting two week business trip sans phone.
Also left an iPod in a seat back that ground crew didn’t return on southwest flight. Woke up and deplaned groggy before realizing it. Ugh.
Aileen, wow this story had my nerves so bad. You handled it waayyy better than I would have. Firstly, I probably would’ve never had the guts to ask him to open his bag. So glad you actually did ask him to do that or else you wouldn’t have seen your laptop. On top of that, had I seen it, there would’ve been some problems. I wouldn’t have handled it as nicely as you did with the guy. I do understand the FAs probably aren’t allowed to ask people to open their bags, but I would’ve thought they could’ve at least LOOKED at the login and seen your name on there. I wonder why that would be against the rules. You would think they would want to de-escalate a problem and a quick glance at the computer and glance at your i.d., that would’ve solved the situation and you could’ve gone back to your seat with YOUR laptop. I would ask Delta about that policy. If it was me and they didn’t look at the login to confirm, then that would have escalated the situation for me because that’s when I would grab my stuff back and cause a scene. So again, you handled it much better than I would. But I do think that took a gamble by not even looking to see the name on the screen. That situation could’ve turned really bad quickly with aggressive people- but it seems like neither of you were uber-aggressive. You were probably shocked and he clearly is a professional at this with the way he had answers for everything law enforcement asked him. So sorry this happened to you.
First thought – wow, your friend is cute.
Next thoughts – gosh it would be difficult not to escalate this situation into the physical dimension. I might have been escorted off the plane and lost the laptop, but that dude’s face would show it. What a perverse system we have!
Carl P says
The flight attendants can’t win. Either they’re being accused of overstepping and abusing their powers OR they aren’t doing enough in policing a situation.
I had my work work MacBook Pro stolen along with my bag. I was late to board and I’m somewhat tall so put it in overhead locker, but a few rows ahead of me. Someone took it by the time I got there…
Do not blame Delta.
After all, what if the “girl” in the story was crazy. Should Delta go after this man for no reason? Of course that is not what happened, but there is no way for the flight crew to know the WHOLE story.
Sometimes bad stuff just happens. So glad his one worked out.
I just have one question. How to check your Mac serial number on iPhone using the iTunes feature? As far as I know, it can only be done by using the iTunes app on computer. Please enlighten me so next time when similar things happen to me I can be fully prepared.
if this happened to me, I’d get seriously furious. I would use a software program called prey antitheft to locate a stolen laptop so it could not be formatted. also, only an administrator can format a computer so creating an admin account and a standard account is a great option, also i would have deactivated the admin account and just kept the standard account meaning it would be imposible to format the computer. but for someone to clame a laptop as their own, is just terrible, looks like i won’t be bringing my lenovo yoga 500 to turkey this year, I’m gonna have to leave it at home and get a cheaper laptop nobody would think of stealing because of its low specks. other than that, do you have any advice?