Question for Readers: Do You Leave Your Bags Unattended in Airport Lounges?

Instead of answering reader questions, I’m going to pose some questions to readers.

One of my habits upon entering any airport lounge is to find a place to dump my stuff and then traipse off to take photos for lounge reviews. I often leave my laptop, passport, boarding passes, and bags out in the open, plus whatever electronics need charging. But I’m wondering if other people feel as comfortable leaving their personal belongings unattended as I do, or if people have other concerns about security, given that there are often overhead announcements at airport warning people NOT to leave their bags unattended and to report unattended bags to security.

I believe that the overlap between people in an airport lounge and those who would steal opportunistically from a stranger is nil. You’re probably pretty well off if you’re in an airport lounge, so why would you need to steal from someone else? So I have no qualms with leaving my things at a chair while I get food, take pictures, or go to the bathroom. In fact, it’s one of the things that I appreciate most about airport lounges–instead of having to lug my stuff around with me, I can just leave it and walk around unencumbered.

That being said, when I travel with friends, many have commented that they find my behavior strange. And I don’t often see unattended belongings in lounges besides my own. So I ask my readers: do you lave your bags unattended in airport lounges? Why or why not?


  1. If I’m traveling with a friend it is easy enough to rotate food/bathroom trips, but if I’m traveling alone it is just way too much work to drag my stuff around with me when I don’t have to. I will take my purse and phone — the [relatively] easy to steal things — but I’ll leave the bulkier stuff.

  2. A few years back a family member had their bag and briefcase stolen from an airline lounge with just a quick run over to the snack bar. He returned to his seat and everything was gone. Not that it’s common, but I would say the overlap may be a bit larger than nil…

  3. When traveling with others, we rotate who goes off but when I am alone I do not leave my belongings. Unless you count it being in my view while I dump trash; then I guess I do.

  4. I always leave my bags unattended in the lounge. I see it as one of the perks. I travel alone often and don’t like lugging everything into the bathroom or lounge bar. However, I always keep my passport in my pocket and if I’m charging electronics, I tuck them inside a jacket or carry-on so they’re not in plain sight.

  5. I often travel alone and it is inevitable. Once left my bags in a cubicle and went into the city to explore for the day. I obviously keep my passport and wallet but leave my carryon with computer unattended.

  6. I always take my passport, boarding pass, phone and wallet with me when I walk about the lounge but I leave my carry-on and laptop (albeit in a briefcase type bag) at whatever seat I will be using when I’m in the lounge.

  7. I typically leave my bags unattended but I usually do not my laptop or other electronics out in the open. Sometimes they are charging and have power cord coming out my bag though.

  8. When I’m in the US I’m more relaxed with my belongings, but I always take my wallet, passport, credit cards, and cell phone with me. If people want to steal my dirty underwear and old laptop they’re welcome to. In other countries I’m a bit more careful.

  9. i leave my stuff unattended, but carry my passport with me. i have a windows phone so i can leave that out anywhere and no one will steal it.

  10. Actually, this happened at the CX SFO lounge in December – A bunch of cops came storming in. They accosted a man and asked him “Where is the laptop?!” After an initial denial and some back and forth, the guy sheepishly pulled a second laptop out of his bag that he had stolen from the guy behind him at security.

  11. Well, I think I do. Because I’m in an airport lounge right now, and was considering a quick trip to the bathroom. I Googled “do you leave your stuff alone in the fancy airport lounge?” and your post was at the top of the list. I’m doing it. Will update if anything terrible happens.

  12. Yep – All the time. It’s so stupid to assume that because you’re in there someone isn’t going to rip you off – I shouldn’t do it. I guess usually I assume that if it’s quiet nobody will be interested, and if it’s busy someone will see me with my bag and mention something if another person starts messing with it. So naive.

    I do always take my passport with me if I am off to the bar/food area/toilet, but the bag is there, and often my MacBook will be connected to the power too (although logged out). From now on not going to – Wake up call. Thanks!

  13. I try leaving my bags but someone always notices the brown bearded man walking away from his belongings and panics.

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