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Airlines record lowest rate for lost or damaged bags for November

January 10, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • In November, the nation's airlines had the lowest rate for lost or damaged luggage for any November on record.
In November, the nation's airlines had the lowest rate for lost or… (Reuters )

If the airlines lost your luggage when you flew for the Thanksgiving holiday, you are in a small minority.

The nation's airlines reported losing or damaging 2.64 bags for every 1,000 passengers who flew in November, the lowest rate of any November on record, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The rate dropped below the lowest previous rate of any November, set in 2011 at 2.72, the federal agency reported Thursday.

Lost luggage rates have been on the decline for years.

Airline critics attribute the decline to checked baggage fees, which were adopted by most airlines in the last five years, prompting passengers to travel with fewer bags. But airlines say they have improved luggage handling in recent years, adding bar codes and electronic monitoring of each piece of luggage.

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"Less flight congestion and more time between connecting flights have been contributing factors as well," said Katie Connell, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, a trade group for the nation's airlines.

In November, California-based Virgin America recorded a 0.61 rate of lost or damaged luggage, the lowest of any major airline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The highest rate of lost or damaged bags for the month was 5.31 reports for every 1,000 passengers, which was reported by American Eagle Airlines, a regional carrier owned by AMR, the parent company of American Airlines.

The nation's airlines also improved their on-time performance.

For the month of November, the nation's 15 largest airlines had an on-time arrival rate of 85.7%, up from 85.3% in November 2011 and 80.2% for October 2012, according to the federal agency.

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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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