What airports, airlines lose the most luggage?

78% of people are nervous about checking their bags according to a recent report. Chicago O'Hare was the airport that lost the most luggage and American lost the most bags in total.

A recent report shows that 55% of U.S. airline passengers have lost their bags, but which airlines and airports lose the most luggage? 

That means more than half of us have had that sick feeling standing at the baggage claim carousel.  Every other passenger on your flight grabs their bag and heads out, and you are alone. 

Lost luggage

Price4Limo combed through the Department of Transportation's Air Consumer Report to find that Chicago O'Hare International Airport lost the most luggage. Here are the 10 top airports in the U.S. for lost luggage:

  1. Chicago O'Hare International Airport
  2. Harry Reid International Airport - Las Vegas
  3. San Diego International Airport
  4. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport - Austin, Texas
  5. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  6. Charlotte Douglas International Airport - Charlotte, North Carolina
  7. Los Angeles International Airport
  8. Washington Dulles International Airport - Washington, D.C.
  9. Philadelphia International Airport
  10. Tampa International Airport

Carriers handled almost 393 million bags in 2021, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. They lost over 2 million bags which is 0.51% of all checked bags. Pre-COVID-19 numbers were higher with a 0.59% loss.

The percentage lost goes up during busy holiday travel. Travelers checked more than 40 million bags in December 2021. Carriers lost 264,000 of them which is 0.66% of all bags.

Airlines have drastically different loss rates within each airport. Republic Airlines lost the most bags out of the ones they handled. American Airlines loses the most bags out of all carriers. 

American Airlines handles more bags which keeps their rate of 850 lost bags per 100,000 lower than Republic Airlines 930 lost bags out of every 100,000 checked. 

That means American Airlines loses 0.85% of bags and Republic loses 0.93% of bags. One to two unlucky passengers on each domestic flight won't have their bag when they get to their destination.

Carriers lose more wheelchairs and scooters. Airlines checked over 532,000 of them in 2021 and lost 7,239 or 1.65%. During buy Thanksgiving travel, that rate went up to 1.73% wheelchairs and scooters lost.

Price4Limo surveyed passengers that lost their bags and found that 34% got their bags back. On average, luggage went missing for 6 days.

Up to 88% of passengers said that airlines gave compensation for the lost luggage. On average, a passenger received $514.40. Of that 66%, they said they received full compensation and 24% said they were partially compensated.

Unfortunately, 14% said the loss had an "extremely negative" impact on their trip. Up to 72% reported that an "irreplaceable item" was lost with the bag.

Damaged luggage

While your bag may arrive with you to your destination, it may not be in one piece. 

Many airlines have doubled or worse their incidences of damaged bags over the past 12 months.

Seven times the number of Allegiant passengers reported damaged bags over the past 12 months than they did over the previous year.

Every airline in the study saw in increase in damaged baggage claims in the past year. SkyWest had the lowest increase of damaged bags with only 61% more complaints.

Price4Limo suggests that the higher demand for travel coupled with staff shortages and labor strikes are to blame.

Sixty percent of passengers surveyed for the study said that an airline had damaged their luggage in the past.

Nervous about checking?

You are not alone if you are worried about checking your bag. Of those surveyed, 78% said they got the jitters checking their bags. Up to 85% of frequent fliers said they worry.

Consider taking the advice of 66% of those surveyed who pack back-up items along with valuables in their carry-on. Surprising, only 24% pack underwear.