Do not check in too early for any flights out of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia. We are regular travelers to Medan, at least 5 or 6 times each year. Recently we have had our suitcases broken into after checking in and even though there was only something valuable in them once, the baggage handlers still break them open each time we check in early. We noticed that when we checked in just one hour before the flight they did not break into them, but two hours or 90 minutes before and they do. I use a crew type suitcase which is usually the most secure, but they just took a screwdrivder to it and popped all three locks, combination lock and key locks.
Medan is a very small airport so you dont need to get there early anyway, and there is NOTHING to do once you check in,. so time your arrival carefully and get there at the last possible moment.
We tried to report this to the airline (Silk Air) but they were a waste of time. Tried to report it to the Police, stupid I know but we tried. We tried to report it to the airport managent, even greater waste of time.
So bottom line is either take only carry on or check in 1 hr exactly before the flight.
Final word of caution. Flights to Singapore are almost always late, anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 or 7 hours, so always, always, always, call the airport before you decide to go there and find out if its running late.
Perhaps the Indonesian tourist board - as well as one or two other government departments for good measure - should know this problem is being aired to thousands of prospective travelers. If they were sent 'cc' then each one will know who else knows. Just a thought.
Just in case anyone still thinks this is not happening, my wife returned from Medan today (Silk Air) and her brand new top end hard sided suitcase had been crudely broken into with a screwdriver. Given our previous experiences there was nothing in her case other than clothes so there was nothing to steal, just destroyed a $400 suitcase. And there is nothing anyone can or wants to do about it.
We have now decided that we will not check in luggage anymore, if we cannot carry it on board it doesnt go.
Silk Air say report it to the police. Singapore police say report it in Medan. So we can either spend $500 and fly back to Medan for no good purpose at all, or do nothing, which seems to be the Indonesian and indeed the Silk Air way of doing things.
Thank you for your warning.
I have not experienced any problem with my luggage at Medan airport and I have flown internally from Jakarta to Medan quite a few times and from Medan to Penang and return and from Banda Aceh to Medan.
Maybe they are just choosing international flights to Singapore assuming there is nothing of value to be found in a domestic bag? Makes ones wonder. Anyway have written to Silk Air 'again' but given their complete lack of response to any other issues raised with them I dont expect an answer from this one either.
Finally Silk Air managed to do something about this, we managed to depart Medan this week and nothing was stolen and no damage to our bags, first time this year. With luck and many posts about it on various travel blogs we may have resolved this issue, well for a while anyway.
However best advice, do not put anything that even looks valuable in your checked luggage in Medan as the handlers use the security xray machines to check the bags to see what they can steal. Check in as close to the 60 minute limit as you can.
I cannot believe you would put any valuable things in your luggage that goes through the xray machine and leaves your person. No ownder you were robbed.
That is just plain stupid on your part.
That kind of theft will happen anywhere in the world just NOT Medan.
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Oct-2009, at 03:27 by pPamela ]
Hi Pamela, indeed I wish my niece had the experience of flying before, too young and too innocent to understand such things, but a lesson learned, albeit an expensive one. At least we seem to have got silk air to do something about it. Other friends who travel from Medan regularly say they have not had any bags broken into for the last few months. cheers. Peter
Sorry to know that your checked in baggages have been broken.It is kind of you to warn other passengers about this airport.
Suggest you that it is better to make a written complaint with both airlines, with the police, with tourissm board and all concerned authorities and if possible to news papers in Medan (never mind if no action is taken...too many complaints like yours will make authorities wake up and take action).
Wish you had claimed from the airlines who is responsible to deliver your baggage in good condition and also from the insurance had you taken one. Suggest you not to leave without claiming from the airlines that you flew with.