Skip to main content

Airline baggage stats: More checked bags mishandled more often

By Dennis Schaal, Skift
updated 9:33 PM EST, Wed March 5, 2014
The number of mishandled bags per person in the U.S. increased in 2013, as did fees to check them.
The number of mishandled bags per person in the U.S. increased in 2013, as did fees to check them.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Increased baggage fees have not impacted checked bag numbers
  • More bags are being mishandled by airlines though
  • Leisure and business travel up in 2013, as financial situation improves

(CNN) -- Even as some airlines hike bag fees, passengers in the United States almost counter-intuitively checked more bags per person in 2013.

And right on cue, despite a few years of improvements, airlines mishandled more bags per passenger on domestic flights in 2013 compared with 2012, according to TSA and DOT statistics cited by Airlines for America (A4A).

While checked bags per passenger at airport ticket counters increased to 0.677 in 2013, up from 0.668 in 2012, the number of mishandled bags on domestic flights in 2013 spiked from around 2.9 per 1,000 customers in 2012 to 3.22 in 2013, A4A stated.

A spokesperson for A4A points out, though, that "2012 was the best weather year in recent memory, a key driver for baggage delivery and on-time performance."

MORE: How to avoid baggage fees: Wear your luggage

Fees no deterrent

Why would checked bags per customers be rising at a time when checked bag fees are increasing?

John Heimlich, A4A's chief economist, briefed analysts on airline economics on March 5, and said one factor is that more leisure travelers were flying in 2013, and they tend to check more bags per person than business travelers.

It was a business-travel-led recovery, Heimlich said, and leisure travelers in 2013 joined in.

Personal income is rising, unemployment is down and passengers are getting used to airlines' a la carte pricing, Heimlich said.

Heimlich said the increase in checked bags per passenger actually may be higher than A4A's numbers indicate because they don't include bags checked at the gate.

The increased rate of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers does indeed include bags checked at the airport ticket counter and bags checked at the gate.

More stories from Skift:

Travelocity Trying to Sell Underperforming Lastminute.com

Sabre Files For IPO, Reveals Years of Financial Losses

UK cabin crew survey identifies their ideal air passenger

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
updated 10:12 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
updated 7:17 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
updated 7:32 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
updated 8:26 PM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
updated 11:04 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
updated 3:56 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
updated 6:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT