Lost luggage is a travel nightmare and can turn vacation excitement into a hassle very quickly. As travelers pack their favorite holiday attire and choose to check their bags instead of carrying them on, at least half a million bags will be mishandled by U.S airlines this month.
A survey conducted by Price4Limo, which combined data from the 2022 Air Travel Consumer Report and Google search trends, identified a list of the biggest offenders when it comes to airlines and airports that mishandle or lose luggage.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) Lost The Most Luggage This Year
According to keyword data, Chicago O’Hare came out as the number one airport that lost the most luggage, followed by Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and San Diego International Airport. There could be several reasons for O’Hare taking the top spot, such as:
- It Is One Of The Busiest Airports in the Globe: According to World Atlas, based on 2019 pre-COVID numbers, Chicago O’Hare came in at number three as the busiest airport in the U.S. after Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport at number one, and Los Angeles International Airport at number two. It also sits in the top ten busiest airports in the world.
- A Popular Stop For Transfers: O’Hare serves 916 daily domestic and international flights each day, including to destinations in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South America. This makes Chicago a popular stop for a layover or connection in the Midwest. With many flight cancellations and disruptions reported this year, Chicago was the second airport in the United States with the most flight cancellations and the third airport with the most delays, which could assist in complications with baggage re-routing.
- A Hub for Two Of The Largest Airlines: O’Hare is the hub for two of the largest airlines in the United States; United, and American Airlines. O’Hare is American Airlines’ hub for the Midwest and represents more than one-third of the market share, making it the second-largest airline at the airport after United. Coincidentally, American Airlines is also the biggest offender when it comes to mishandled luggage.
American Airlines Consistently Mishandles Luggage The Most
According to monthly Air Travel Consumer Reports, American Airlines has consistently been mishandling (lost, damaged, delayed, or stolen) the most luggage every month since February 2022. In August, the airline mishandled over 56,000 bags, which is equivalent to losing 990 bags for every 10,000 bags they handle.
To give a comparison, Southwest will usually check more than double the number of bags than American Airlines but mishandle half of what American does. In August, Southwest mishandled 590 bags for every 10,000 bags.
Allegiant and Hawaiian Airlines Mishandle Luggage The Least
When choosing your next airline, it’s good to know that Allegiant and Hawaiian Airlines maintain the title of least offenders when it comes to mishandling your luggage, which is likely because both airlines have the least amount of checked luggage across airlines, with people opting to carry-on their luggage instead. The airlines will each typically check in over half a million bags compared to American Airlines’ five to six million.
Over Half of American Flyers Have Had Their Luggage Lost
According to the survey conducted by Price4Limo, 60% of survey respondents have had their luggage damaged, while 55% have had their luggage lost. Only half of these respondents had been compensated for their luggage, with the average value of the lost luggage sitting at around $500. One-third eventually had their luggage make it back to them, but this was after an average of 6 days missing.
What To Do If Your Luggage Has Gone Missing
Travel Off Path has covered some great tips for how to minimize the chances of lost luggage, but with one in two people losing their luggage, it’s best to be prepared if it does happen. Be quick and open a lost luggage claim with your airline, and remember you are entitled to a refund for the baggage fee once the bag has been determined lost.
Some airlines will reimburse you for items that you need until the bag is recovered, so speak to the airline agent about what they will cover in advance. If your bag is never found, you will need to have a list of items with estimated values to submit for reimbursement (but each airline has its own restrictions around what they can reimburse, so check what the airline will cover).
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com