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Airport Security – Problems at the Security Check

In the past few years, I have experienced two separate incidents of items going missing at airport security checks. Basically, people stealing things from the security trays. The items went missing somewhere between the entrance of the X-Ray machine and the area where you are cleared and can enter departures. This is a brief post on How to Keep Your Belongings Safe at airport security checks.

Imagine if this was your phone, laptop, iPad, wallet or passports which were taken? Luckily my items were only small items.

Having retraced the steps in my head I can see now where the window of opportunity might exist for an opportune thief to strike and take your belongings from your airport security tray.

Here’s the scene, you are in airport security. You are preparing to have your belongings scanned and you are preparing to walk through the X-Ray device. It can be a bit stressful, take off your belt, take off your shoes, empty your pockets, turn off your phone, take your laptop out of its bag, do you have any liquids or gels? … Therefore you are a bit on edge just waiting for this to be finished and you might not be fully alert to the possibilities.

So if during these airport security checks, you leave your tray and just want to get through the X-ray door/device, your tray is still on the entry side of the X-ray machine. Anyone can now take an item from your tray and place it in theirs. This is what I believe happened – I had walked through and my tray was unattended. An easy thing to do especially if you are simply wanting to get through security.


So the tip is, where possible, stay with your tray, once your tray starts to enter the X-Ray machine you can then walk through, knowing that by the time you get through your tray will be just about exiting from the X-Ray scanner. If you happen to get stopped by security, try to identify where your tray is and keep your eyes on it. The security personnel are normally very nice so if you think you are going to be delayed and your tray is unattended having been checked you might ask them to remove it from the conveyor belt while you are undergoing the final manual security checks.

I’m gutted that I never spotted who took the items – maybe it was genuine mistake identity, however one of the items was a belt and all the other items were actually left in the tray so I find it hard to believe this was the case. If I ever catch the person Ill certainly give them a belt !!

Have you ever had your items taken or stolen at airport security? Have you an airport security story, if so please leave a comment below.