Reading American Airlines Passenger Steals $10K+ Inflight made me wonder how common in-flight theft is. However, I couldn't find any stats so far.

Note: I'm looking for actual stats, and not opinions.


1 Answer 1


This will be a USA based answer.

Collecting this information would require federal regulation affecting every police department dealing with reports of a crime on an airplane. You can't have the airline reporting because accusation is obviously not enough. Now consider the angle of the police: both the thief and the victim is practically guaranteed to be out of state, potentially out of country but most often the crime does not even reach the felony threshold -- about $1000 in many states. No one wants to deal with this and even less so would want to do the paperwork of reporting a misdemeanor to the feds.

Why is not more frequent then? It's simple: most people are not criminals and also, aside from rare occasions, the risk is just not worth anything stealing. This might sound counterintuitive when people run around with laptops etc. but consider a) the resale value of them b) someone seeing you taking them and only realizing what went on when the owner raises a stink.


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