Ashley Barno started receiving text messages from a phone number she didn’t know commenting on many personal things about her–what flight she was on, how attractive she was, and the creepiest of all to me, a text describing her current outfit.
The anonymous texter confessed he was an American Airlines employee on the same flight that she was about to board. Onboard, he tried to get her to sit next to him and after she told him to leave her alone, he started promising airline perks in exchange for her “friendship”.
It turned out the man (who was eventually fired) got her information off her luggage tags.
Keri from Heels First spoke on traveling as a single woman at FTU back in 2013. One of the topics of conversation that came up was how important it was to not have visible luggage tags on your bag.
Since I tend to have multiple destinations, I put my detailed travel itinerary inside my bag. I’m sure the airlines would resort to opening it at some point if they had no way of identifying me.
It’s scary how quickly someone knowing just a little bit of information about you can turn into an uncomfortable situation. I’ve had to ask my boss at one of the bars I worked at to stop using my last name (“Hey, Hoffman!”) after one guest used it to somehow track me down. In the early days of dating websites, someone created a profile just to connect with me–but pretended they had just discovered me on the dating website.
But with travel, there’s a lot of little things you can do. Keep your boarding pass folded. Don’t use easily viewable baggage tags. Don’t walk around with the name of your blog on your tank top (JEANNE). Things like that.
I know the vast majority of people you come across in the airport are good, non-creepy people, so I feel paranoid when I am super cautious. But stories like this creep me out and remind me why I should be cautious.