Flight attendant helped lighten passengers' long-haul load


FOR THE past six months, Air France has puzzled over a series of mysterious thefts in the first class sections of its long-haul flights. Jewellery would vanish from passengers’ luggage.

Cash and credit cards would disappear from their pockets as they slept. With 142 in-flight thefts reported this year alone, the airline’s embarrassment was growing.

To the company’s relief, French police may have cracked the mystery. An Air France flight attendant has been arrested and released under court supervision in connection with a number of thefts on board long-haul Air France flights.

Officers used staff rosters and passenger lists to identify the 47-year-old woman, who was arrested on the tarmac of Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport on July 16th after she arrived on a flight from Tokyo, Le Figaro reported.

The police investigation began in January, when five passengers on a Tokyo-Paris flight reported that a total of €4,000 had been stolen from their hand luggage.

During police questioning, the flight attendant – who worked mainly in first class – admitted carrying out 26 of the thefts, saying she did so in an attempt to solve her “money problems”.

“An examination of her bank accounts showed an incredible gap between her lifestyle and her declared income,” an official told Le Figaro.

A police search of her home and a bank deposit box in her name yielded travellers’ cheques, jewellery and credit card numbers. Air France had no comment to make on the arrest.

Under international aviation rules, the airline accepts liability for baggage only when it is placed in the hold.