There’s a moment, after you check your luggage at JFK, where it glides down the tattered conveyor belt behind the listless workers who spend their day applying thousands and thousands of depressingly un-fun stickers. You watch the bag turn and slip through the plastic strips that divide the check-in area from whatever dark space of confusion and decay lies beyond, and for a moment — if you’re like us — you imagine it getting punted by a series of goons to its destination, like the opening of the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. That is, of course, if it doesn’t stop for a bit to get rifled through by a couple of said goons, causing it to miss your flight and not land with you at your destination, even though you didn’t even transfer planes. Anyway, this imagery usually dissipates after a moment, as you get distracted by all the wonderful fast-food options arrayed before you. (A hot dog encased in a tube of cheese? America is the best country in the world!)
But it turns out, your flight of fancy regarding your bag’s fate might not be that far from reality. Police at JFK decided to check and see, just for the heck of it, whether airport employees were going through people’s bags after they slipped out of sight. And it turned out, they were! TSA worker Brian Burton, 27, and baggage handler Antwon Simmons, 26, stole a laptop and cell phone from decoy luggage planted by the police as it made its way (no word on whether it was kicked along) through JFK. Then they switched the tags on the luggage just to make the phony passengers’ lives even more difficult.
This, of course, is terrible news. Because if that air-travel daydream is true, what does that mean about the one we always have about the pilot and co-pilot stopping what they are doing to have a quickie behind the closed cockpit door??