Traveling through airports can be a frustrating experience for many. Long security lines, overpriced food and delays can make the experience even worse.
However, some things go wrong at certain airports and with particular airlines more than others. That includes when luggage gets lost.
Over the last two decades, airlines and airports alike have made substantial improvements to integrate technology and ensure that less baggage gets lost.
The Department of Transportation figures run between 2012 and 2018 and show that American Airlines … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
Increased automation and high-speed baggage conveyors mean that there is less room for human error but baggage still gets lost.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently published a list of which U.S. carriers were the worst (and best) culprits for lost baggage. On average airlines in the United States lost around two bags out of every thousand. A bag has to be misplaced for more than 21 days for an airline to consider it “lost”.
The Department of Transportation figures run between 2012 and 2018 and show that American Airlines was the worst major U.S. airline for lost baggage. The world’s largest airline (by fleet size, with a staggering 957 aircraft) lost an average of 4.3 bags per 1,000 passengers.
United lost 2.9 bags per 1,000 and Delta was actually the best performing U.S. airline, losing just … [+]
Although they were not the worst-performing U.S. airline, American Airlines scored poorly versus the other 2 so-called US-3 major carriers, Delta Airlines and United.
United lost 2.9 bags per 1,000 and Delta was actually the best performing U.S. airline, losing just 1.55 bags per 1,000.
The statistics show that your choice of airline really can make or break your journey, with passengers on Delta nearly three times less likely to experience lost baggage compared to American Airlines.
The worst performers on the list were smaller, regional airlines. Envoy Air scored poorly at the bottom of the list losing 6.76 bags per 1,000, and ExpressJet and SkyWest also performed worse than American Airlines.
The worst performers on the list were smaller, regional airlines. Envoy Air scored poorly at the … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
In the rare event that an airline does lose your baggage, you do have rights as a passenger. The airline should firstly be providing a cash refund for emergency essentials that may have been lost in your suitcase. This is the case even if your baggage is found later, but you needed to buy essential clothes. The amount an airline will refund you in the short term is a bit of a grey area, and of course, you will need to keep receipts, but going and spending money on expensive designer items is likely not going to get refunded, even if that was what was inside your baggage.
The process to reimburse you may be slow and airlines will very likely try and offer the absolute minimum, but with this being a middle ground of debate, I would personally rarely accept what is initially offered by an airline if I deem it to be unreasonable and if this puts me at an actual loss.
It is also worth noting that most U.S. airlines limit their baggage liability to $3,500, although additional protection can be purchased if you’re packing expensive items that you would like to protect.
The full list of U.S. airlines’ lost baggage statistics is below:
Best Performing Airlines:
Worst Performing Airlines: