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Air France Pickpocket Strikes at 35,000 Feet


By Andrea Rothman and Laurence Frost

(Bloomberg) — Five Air France (AF:FP) business-class passengers traveling from Tokyo to Paris reported they had their pockets picked while sleeping on the overnight flight, the airline said.

Air France reported the incident to French border police, who were waiting for the Boeing (BA) 777 upon arrival yesterday morning at Charles de Gaulle airport, an official for the airline said today. Nobody was immediately apprehended in connection with the theft, according to the Paris-based company.

A passenger raised the alarm after she discovered about 3,000 euros ($4,300) in cash were missing from her handbag, according to Le Figaro newspaper. The five passengers say they were robbed of a total of 4,000 euros, and police spent half an hour on the plane questioning the victims before releasing the passengers and crew, the newspaper reported.

While Air France is responsible for the loss of any baggage in the hold, the passengers themselves must protect money and other valuables they take onto the plane, the official said.

The airline flies the Tokyo-Paris route twice each day. The Boeing 777 on that route is typically outfitted for 292 passengers. The cabin accommodates eight seats in first class, 64 in business class, 26 seats in so-called premium class that provides more space than economy, and 194 economy-class seats.

Travelers in first class are given pajamas by the airline, a perk not available to business-class travelers. In both classes, the seats fold out into completely flat beds. A one-way ticket on Air France on the Tokyo-Paris route costs about 1,800 euros, according to online prices.

Border police at Charles de Gaulle airport didn't immediately return calls seeking further information.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Rothman in Toulouse, France at aerothman@bloomberg.net; Laurence Frost in Paris at lfrost4@bloomberg.net

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