Passengers struggling with spike in lost bags this summer, see with which airlines

Josue Torres
(Canva Pro)

According to the most current statistics released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 220,000 bags were mishandled by American Airlines in April 2022, which means they were lost, damaged, or delayed.

According to department data, the number of mishandled bags in April more than doubled the nearly 94,000 incidents of mishandled luggage in April 2021, while it was significantly lower than the totals in March 2022 and April 2019.

In order to speed up the transportation of delayed baggage, Delta Air Lines last week sent a jet from London’s Heathrow Airport to Detroit with 1,000 pieces of detained luggage but no passengers.

After cutting back during the last two years, airlines have struggled with a lack of baggage handlers, pilots, and other employees as travel demand has increased.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 2.4 million Americans went through airport security on Sunday, an increase of 10% from a year ago and more than twice the amount on the same day in 2020.

Although a lost suitcase or a delay in getting to your possessions might ruin a trip, there is a silver lining — in many cases, travelers can get cash compensation from airlines when their baggage is misplaced.

There are many things passengers need to know if their checked baggage disappears or gets damaged.

Airlines must provide up to a certain amount in compensation for lost, delayed, or damaged luggage per U.S. rules.

In the event that your bag is reported missing, the airline is required to reimburse you for its contents, less depreciation, and up to a certain amount.

The Transportation Department states that this maximum liability is $3,800 for domestic flights and around $1,800 for foreign flights. Airlines aren’t obligated to pay extra, but they may. Any baggage check fees must also be reimbursed by the transport company.

A lost or damaged assistive device that belongs to travelers with special needs is also subject to up to a $20,000 payment from airlines.

These maximum liability limitations also apply to bags that are delayed. Travelers’ compensation may also cover any out-of-pocket expenses for new clothes or other items they are forced to make as a result of the delay.

When a suitcase is delayed, these are referred to as reasonable, verifiable, and actual incidental expenditures. Airlines are not permitted to impose a daily cap on these transitional costs.

Each carrier may have a different set of policies. For instance, various airlines have varied criteria for when a suitcase is considered “lost”; according to the Transportation Department, the majority proclaim a bag lost after 5 to 14 days. For things in your bag, airlines may request receipts or other documentation. Some airlines may decide not to reimburse passengers for stuff like cash, electronics, and delicate items.

It is recommended to speak with an airline employee before departing the airport to make a baggage claim if the luggage carrousel is empty and you haven’t seen your bag.

The same goes for when your suitcase is late, damaged, or opened; report it before you leave the airport.

Passengers should also submit a complaint with the Transportation Department after leaving the airport. The agency will notify the airline about the concern, moving it up the list of complaints.

The full report from the Department of Transportation shows all the data from all the airlines and airports in the country.

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