Occasionally via our social media accounts we get suggestions from members of the public about where our polygraph services could be used.  Sometimes the ideas point us in directions we haven’t thought about before.  This was the case when a very unhappy Ryanair passenger contacted us to say she thought lie detector tests for airport baggage handlers might improve the airline’s customer services.

Mary’s story

On 29th December last year Mary boarded a Ryanair flight from Malaga in Spain to Stansted.  As she was about to board the plane she was made aware that her hand luggage had to be put in the hold and she would have to pay an extra £10 for it, which she did. This was due to some sort of mix up in the online booking process.

In her hand luggage were Christmas gifts she had bought for her children and grandchildren (some of which she bought in duty free). She hadn’t managed to go back to the UK for Christmas so her grandchildren were quite excited to have a “second Christmas” with her.

Missing gifts

On arrival at Stansted she collected her case from the carousel and left the terminal. Her son picked her up outside and they proceeded to their destination in Frinton.  When she got to Frinton she unpacked her case only to find that there were no gifts in it.  Her son contacted Stansted Airport via Twitter who told him it would have to be reported to Ryanair since the baggage handlers were contracted by the airline.

Four days later she returned to Stansted and duly reported the matter when she checked in.  She was told she would have to go online and complete a complaint form.  When she got home to Spain she did this and called the Ryanair customer service number.  She was then told that she should have checked her case before leaving the airport.  Something may have escaped us here but in all the extensive travelling we have done, we’ve never taken a case off a carousel and proceeded to check its contents on the floor of the airport.  Indeed we have never seen anyone else do it either. Mary has reported the matter to the local police now.

However, it seems apparent that these items went missing between the case being handed to the airline staff and its journey from Malaga to the carousel in Stansted.

Lie detector tests for airport baggage handlers

Mary is not claiming compensation for this sorry episode but would have at least expected an apology and investigation. Perhaps Ryanair could have offered a minor discount on her next flight. So far she has received a standard letter acknowledging her complaint but no apology or even the hint that the matter has been looked into.  She contacted us to suggest perhaps lie detector tests for airport baggage handlers might actually determine what happened to the missing gifts. We are certain that most airline staff and baggage handlers are incredibly hard working and honest people. But Mary’s case was opened and items have been removed from it. The case was rapidly put in the hold at Malaga since the plane was boarding at the time.  It then traveled to Stansted so unless a magpie was sitting in the hold it seems clear that suspects are limited.

Since several baggage handlers and airline staff may have handled Mary’s case we would suggest that Ryanair uses a Scientific Content Analysis approach.  All people concerned complete a questionnaire which is then analysed by an expert who can determine whether the statements made on the questionnaires are true.

This method narrows down the field to potential suspects who then would take our lie detector tests for airport baggage handlers.

Trying to communicate with Ryanair

We attempted to contact Ryanair about Mary’s problem and were bounced around various departments.  Finally we were given an email address of their PR department and we sent them an email outlining Mary’s plight and her suggestion.  A week went by and we received no reply.  We then forwarded the email to every Ryanair executive’s email address we could find but alas, we still don’t have a reply.

We invite Ryanair to contact us regarding lie detector tests for airport baggage handlers, or at least to contact Mary with an apology. It would be the kind thing to do.

We’d also like to hear from anyone who has had a problem with items going missing from luggage at airports.

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