These Airlines Are Most Likely to Lose (or Otherwise Mishandle) Your Bags

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If you want to arrive at your destination with your luggage in hand, here are the airlines that are best and worst at taking care of your checked bags.

It’s a great feeling to deplane and leave the baggage claim area shortly afterward with your luggage in hand. Unfortunately, that’s not always the reality. So, which airlines are losing (or otherwise mishandling) your luggage?

According to a new air travel report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, some airlines are worse offenders than others. The report about mishandled bags, which includes lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered luggage, looked at 14 major U.S. carriers from January to October this year.

There were 1.6 million claims about mishandled bags filed in those nine months.

Envoy Air is the worst offender, mishandling about nine bags per 1,000 passengers, while Southwest, American and United mishandled closer to four bags per 1,000 passengers, according to The Washington Post.

But the report’s rates of mishandled bags don’t give you a complete picture. “The government computes the mishandling rates by pitting lost luggage against all enplaned passengers — not merely those who checked in luggage,” the Post reported.

Here are the eight airlines most likely to lose or otherwise mishandle your luggage:

  1. Envoy Air — 8.82 mishandled luggage reports per 1,000 passengers.
  2. ExpressJet — 5.82.
  3. AirTran — 4.81.
  4. SkyWest — 4.78.
  5. Southwest — 4.27.
  6. American — 3.84.
  7. United — 3.68.
  8. US Airways — 3.65

Of the 14 major domestic carriers, Virgin America (0.97), Frontier Airlines (1.78) and JetBlue (2.08) had the lowest incidence of mishandled bags.

“It’s worth adding that Envoy Airlines, previously known as American Eagle Airlines, and a subsidiary of American Airlines, was also the least punctual airline of 2014,” Quartz said.

I’ve experienced significant luggage delays three times. My worst experience was on my honeymoon. My husband and I arrived in Maui in sweats because we’d left Montana early on a May morning, when it was still cold. We thought we’d be able to change clothes quickly once we arrived so we could go out and enjoy the beach.

Instead we ended up at a store shopping for more weather-appropriate clothing. Fortunately, our bags arrived the next day.

What’s your worst lost/delayed luggage story? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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