The other day I flew from the USA to London Heathrow on a United Airlines flight.
As a British citizen with an electronic passport I flew through passport control, but I could see from the queue that the Americans on the flight were going to be a while!
When I got to the baggage conveyor, there were already plenty of bags on it. There were bags which had come up through a feeder conveyor, but an automated system was holding them, waiting for gaps on the main conveyor before it would drop them off. My bag had not yet arrived.
After waiting for a bit, I got bored and a little frustrated. Very few bags were being released, as there weren't big enough gaps on the main conveyor. So I proceeded to group the bags on the conveyor closer together, in order to make bigger gaps to allow more bags to be released.
After 5-10 minutes of this a member of Heathrow staff arrived and started actually taking bags off the conveyor belt, standing them up nearby, and freeing up far more space than I was doing. And eventually my bag arrived.
- Are there any reasons I shouldn't have been moving other people's bags on the conveyor?
- Are there any reasons I couldn't have removed other people's bags from the conveyor and stood them up?
As far as I know within UK law there's nothing against touching someone else's belongings; the relevant wording I can think of is from theft laws which have wording along the lines of "intent to permanently deprive" people of their belongings, which I'm clearly not doing. I'm far more worried that I'd attract the attention of airport staff / security staff and get delayed for questioning or something.
Answers from a UK perspective are probably most applicable, though as this could happen to many people in many different countries, I'd personally welcome international answers (as long as this doesn't make the question too broad).