My Friend Was Robbed On A JetBlue Flight — What Do I Do?

Robert says his friend, Y, believes she was robbed of $50 and an iPad on a JetBlue flight, and that the airline and authorities haven’t much helped her in her quest to recover the property. Neither Robert nor Y knows what to do.

Take a look at their story:

I am writing on behalf of my friend Y. Today, Y took a JetBlue flight. Y carried her iPad on the plane, as well as some cash and other valuables in her purse. Being the good traveler that she is, when the stewardesses said that it was time to turn off of her electronic devices, she turned off her iPad and stowed it in her purse and placed the purse under the seat in front of her, as commanded. She then fell asleep on the plane for a few hours.

After landing, exiting the plane and taking a taxi home, Y began to unpack and realized that her iPad was missing, as well as $50 in cash from her wallet (although they left a British 10 pound note for some reason). Unfortunately, the iPad did not have the tracking technology that most new iPads have installed, so she is out of luck for locating it that way. After searching through the rest of her bags just to be sure she didn’t just misplace it, she called the JetBlue customer service line to report the stolen items, who told her to call the police and that they couldn’t help other than to suggest that she post on “SpeakUp”, JetBlue’s online customer service system.

The police were predictably useless, saying that they didn’t know which precinct to report the crime to and that it was the airline’s responsibility for something that happened in mid-air. So Y called back the JetBlue customer service line and asked if they could investigate the people sitting directly around her (specifically directly in front and directly next to her, since those seem the most likely suspects), and they said that they couldn’t investigate anything because they were unable to contact the people in the seats around her due to airline policy. They also lectured her and said that she shouldn’t put her purse under the seat in front of her. This is obviously a stupid thing to say, as FAA rules mandate that she stores her purse “under the seat in front” of her. Had she not done this, a stewardess would have certainly told her that she would have to do so or the plane couldn’t take off.

So JetBlue basically told her that there is no way to guarantee the safety of your belongings on their planes without violating federal law.

I feel that at the very least, JetBlue should make a reasonable effort to investigate the situation and make a good faith effort to recover the stolen items. While I know by law they cannot be held liable for the stolen goods and I understand that things get stolen periodically on planes just as they do everywhere, but the fact that an airline has no policy to deal with stolen items other than to make the customer eat the cost and give them a lecture about not stowing valuables under the seat is just unbelievable. You would think that an airline would be interested to know if one of their passengers was stealing items, but Young just received a brush-off and was offered no form of compensation whatsoever. As frequent JetBlue customers, we look elsewhere when we book our flights unless JetBlue does something to make this right.

Could you provide any advice for what to do in this situation?

If you’ve had something stolen during a flight, how did you go about trying to find justice?