Archive for March, 2013

Best and Worst Airlines for Lost Luggage

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Nearly 1.8 million pieces of luggage were lost, stolen, or damaged by major U.S. airlines in 2012 — and that’s just on domestic flights. While it sounds staggering, mishandling 3.09 bags per 1,000 passengers actually represents an 8 percent decline since 2011.

“The rate of mishandled baggage reports filed by carriers is at an all-time low,” says Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Mosley. (The problem reached crisis level in 2007 when U.S. carriers lost or damaged more than 4.5 million bags.) “A number of factors are helping to reduce the rate,” he adds, including improved on-time performance and new baggage-tracking technologies.

Of course, the airline you fly also affects your chances of sticking with your bag. Regional airlines like SkyWest (ranked a lowly 13 out of 15) tend to have the poorest records, while budget carrier AirTran comes in at No. 2.

Before you book your next flight, find out which airlines are best and worst for lost luggage. And if you don’t have a choice and need to book one of the airlines in the “worst” category, be sure and follow the tips in our last newsletter to help speed your bags back to you if they’re misplaced.

The Airlines below are ranked from worst to best based upon statistics compiled by the Department of Transportation.

15. American Eagle – 5.80 baggage reports per 1000 passengers

14. ExpressJet (a SkyWest subsidiary) – 5.52 per 1000

13. SkyWest – 5.26 per 1000

12. Mesa (operates as Go!, United Express, U.S. Airways Express) – 4.68 per 1000

11. United – 3.87 per 1000

10. Southwest – 3.08 per 1000

9. Alaska – 2.93 per 1000

8. American – 2.92 per 1000

7. Hawaiian – 2.88 per 1000

6. Frontier – 2.22 per 1000

5. U.S. Airways – 2.14 per 1000

4. Delta – 2.10 per 1000

3. Jet Blue – 1.88 per 1000

2. AirTran – 1.58 per 1000

1. Virgin America – 0.87 per 1000

How does Virgin American obtain a rate so much lower than everyone else?  They are a relatively new carrier (six years old) and they’re small, only 52 aircraft to 17 domestic destinations.

This was a continuation of the article by Joe Yogerst from Travel and Leisure Magazine.  I hope it helps with your travel planning.