Many people find it frustrating to travel through airports. The experience can be made worse by long security lines, high-priced food, and delays.
Some things can go wrong at airports or with certain airlines more than others. This includes luggage getting lost.
In the past two decades, both airlines and airports have made significant improvements in integrating technology to ensure that baggage is not lost.
Automation and high-speed baggage conveyors have made it easier for humans to make mistakes, but bags still get lost.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a list of U.S. airlines that were responsible for losing baggage. Two bags per thousand lost by American airlines is an average. An airline will consider a bag “lost” if it is misplaced for longer than 21 days.
According to the Department of Transportation, American Airlines lost the most baggage between 2012-2018. With a fleet of 957 aircraft, the largest airline in the world, American Airlines lost on average 4.3 bags per 1,000 passengers.
American Airlines was not the worst performing U.S. airline but they scored poorly against the 2 major US carriers, Delta Airlines, and United.
United lost 2.9 bags for every 1,000 passengers, while Delta was the most successful U.S. airline with just 1.55 bags per 1000.
Statistics show that choosing the right airline can make or break your trip. Delta passengers are three times more likely to lose their baggage than those on American Airlines.
Smaller regional airlines were the worst offenders on this list. Envoy Air lost 6.76 bags per 1000, while ExpressJet was the worst performer. SkyWest and SkyWest were also poorer than American Airlines.
You have rights as a passenger in the unlikely event that your baggage is lost by an airline. First, the airline should offer a cash reimbursement for any emergency items that were lost in your luggage. Even if your luggage is not found until later, this applies if you need to purchase essential clothes. It is not clear how much an airline will reimburse you for in the short-term. You will need receipts. However, spending money on designer items will likely not be refunded even if they were in your baggage.
Although the process of getting reimbursed may take a while and airlines may offer the minimum amount, this is a compromise. I personally would not accept anything offered by an airline, if it was unreasonable or if it puts me in a real loss.
You should also know that the majority of U.S. airlines have a baggage liability limit of $3,500. However, additional protection is available if you are packing valuable items you wish to protect.
Below is a complete list of lost baggage statistics for U.S airlines:
The Best Airlines for Performance:
Worst performing airlines: