The Award for “Airline That Mishandles the Most Baggage” Goes To…

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Luggage at an airport

A new report revealed a pair of unflattering statistics about mishandled baggage.

American Airlines took the crown as the airline that mishandles the most luggage. And its Philadelphia hub allegedly has an especially bad problem getting bags from planes to carousels.

Christian Hetrick writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer that American mishandled approximately 11 checked bags per thousand boarded in June. Southwest came in next, with five mishandled pieces per thousand. And Southwest boarded over a quarter million more bags! (“Mishandled bags are checked bags that are lost, damaged, delayed, and pilfered,” he says.)

American Airlines jets

BAAgage delAAys AAplenty for American Airlines…

Mr. Hetrick notes the situation is really unimpressive in the City of Brotherly Love. “American Airlines mishandled about 20 bags for every 1,000 boarded in August, which is an improvement from the 23 missed bag rate from the same month last year, data shared by the airline show. Year to date, America Airlines said it mishandled roughly 15 bags per 1,000 enplaned in Philly, roughly the same rate as last year.” (Emphasis mine)

The post contains an example of some AA luggage at PHL delayed due to lightning. I assume the planes, baggage carts, and other equipment comprise quite a bit of metal. Understandable, right? Interestingly, Mr. Hetricks says neither Delta nor Southwest had issues that night.

(Delta passengers: remember that if your bags hit the carousel 20 or more minutes after arriving at the gate, you can file a claim for 2500 SkyMiles.)

Passengers waiting at a luggage carousel

In the Meantime…

While the free first checked bag many travel credit cards provide is great, a safer bet is to pack less and carryon (especially when flying American, I guess). Invest in some compression packing cubes and a set of laundry compression bags.

While many travel credit cards — including the Delta American Expresses — and travel insurance include baggage delay protection, it’s one perk you definitely don’t want to have to use.

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