Mishandled bags

Lost bag rate dips. Again.

Good news for air travelers who check their bags and worry about those bags getting to their destination.

According to the just-issued SITA 2018 Baggage Report, airlines around the world have once again improved the rate of baggage delivery, continuing a more than decade-long trend of improvement which has seen baggage mishandling drop by 70% since 2007.

The rate of bag mishandling has dropped, notes SITA, even though 2017 saw a rise in the number of passenger to more than 4 billion.

In 2017, the number of mishandled bags was 5.57 per thousand passengers, the lowest level ever recorded.

That’s good news, but mishandled bags cost the industry an estimated $2.3 billion in 2017. And it is of course a hassle if it is your bag that ends up delayed or lost.

So SITA is encouraging airlines to continue investing in end-to-end bag tracking.

“Over the last decade, we have seen significant improvements in bag management as airlines have taken advantage of technology,” said Barbara Dalibard, CEO, SITA, “End-to-end tracking produces data which reveals where improvements can be made in operational processes. While we won’t see a sudden change in 2018, it is a real turning point for the industry as airlines begin to unlock the value of the tracking data for the 4.65 billion bags they carry.”

 For a look at what happens to your checked bags once you hand it over at the check-in counter, see my recent At the Airport column on USA TODAY: The trip your luggage takes without you.

Millionaire at Reno-Tahoe Airport and fun with lost baggage

According to recently released statistics from the Department of Transportation (DOT),  airlines appear to be getting better at keeping track of checked bags.  Plenty of bags still go missing. And some bags do get stolen.  But according to the Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), in 2009 the mishandled bag rate was 3.91 per 1,000 passengers, down from 2008’s 5.26 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers; and the lowest rate of lost bags in quite some time.

The numbers are going in the right direction, but it may be because fewer people are traveling and many travelers are doing whatever they can not to pay a checked bag fee.

But just about everyone will get a big kick out of this YouTube video of Rhod Gilbert talking about his luggage problems.

And while Mr. Gilbert may have had bad luck at the airport, on Sunday, February 21st, Denver resident John Johnson had some very good luck at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Johnson, his wife, and his bowling team went to Reno for the US Bowling Congress Open Championship and, after putting $20 in a Megabucks machine at the airport, Johnson won $10.4 million.