Although the holiday season is a time when giving is a priority, it's sad to think that there still lurks more than a fair share of takers in the shadows. And if a recent allegation by a dissatisfied Delta Airlines passenger is true, then it's a sad reflection on the hospitality industry, despite the top-notch service most participants provide, especially this time of year.

In mid-December, a man who was on a flight destined for Atlanta claimed to authorities that a laptop that went missing after he inadvertently left it behind while deplaning was taken by cleaning staff. He contacted Delta support service numerous times, but to no avail. That's when he decided to take matters into his own hands and used an Apple app called Find My iPhone to track down where his valuable piece of hardware went.


Once he was able to narrow the search to an address in the city, he notified police, who checked out the residence occupied by a member of the cleanup crew responsible for grooming that Delta craft. The man admitted to authorities that he took the computer, which he sold for $500. Some pressure from the police convinced the man to buy back the computer from the purchaser and get it back to its rightful owner.

Both the police and Delta are investigating the episode. However, Delta reported that the perpetrator was not employed directly by the airline, but worked for a company contracted to clean its planes.

It's not the first time this year that a cleaning crew was taken to task over incidents involving theft on airlines. In October, a rash of thefts was discovered to have taken place on a South African Airways jet that was on its way to Hong Kong after departing from Johannesburg. Valuable items reported missing from baggage in overhead compartments were discovered between seat cushions on the aircraft for thieves to pick up later.

In June, an Emirates flight attendant was arrested for stealing $5,000 from passengers on board a flight that left Thailand for Dubai. The suspect confessed to the theft, but only after flushing down the stolen evidence down a toilet in the airport terminal.

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