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Believe It or Not, Study Shows Airlines Are Losing Fewer Bags Than Ever

March 26, 2014 at 2:06 PM | by | ()

For anyone that's been delayed or inconvenienced by lost luggage of late, this news will probably not be well received, or better yet, believed. But the 10th annual SITA Baggage Report reveals that airlines are improving upon their ability to keep track of bags.

According to the study, the current rate at which bags are lost or delayed is the lowest it has ever been, dropping more than 21% from 2012 to 6.96 bags per thousand passengers in 2013. This is a significant improvement from the dark days of 2007, when airlines mishandled almost 19 bags per thousands passengers. In total, the study says the annual cost of mishandled bags has dropped 50% over the past six years.

That last part is especially interesting in today's world, one in which we talk so much about the frustrating fees that airlines deem necessary for their profitability due to anything and everything from increased oil prices to waving demand. So much of the blame for high expenses is projected outward by the airlines, yet it seems like they could save some serious cash if they stopped shooting themselves in the foot and solved their baggage-handling woes.

As the industry moves forward and costs continue to rise, perhaps this is one area where a little R&D could go a long way towards improving customer satisfaction and profit margins simultaneously. With any luck, these numbers will continue to improve as airlines experiment with new baggage technology that helps them watch over bags on connecting flights.

[Photo: Business Week]

Archived Comments:

Statistics 101

Anyone else find it odd that the baggage report is per 1000 passengers, not per 1000 bags? Surely with the change in bag fees and growth in passenger numbers, it is much harder to compare this number between airlines and over time.

Re Stats 101

Yeah, definitely. SITA is a company that supports "baggage management" in the airline industry, though, so it's not surprising they did it per passenger. The bit about how the industry is reducing its costs is good news regardless of how or why.