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Airlines Lose 10,000 Bags a Day

by Jack Penning

Posted on February 17, 2006 at 4:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:46 PM

US Airlines, in 2005, lost more bags than in any previous years since 1990. The US Department of Transportation reports a little more than 3.5 million bags misplaced by the airlines... which works out to about 10,000 a day in the US. That's a 23% jump in lost bags from 2004 to 2005.

Airlines blame an increased number of passengers, checking an increased number of bags; budget cuts, allowing for fewer employees to handle all those bags; and higher levels of security for checked bags than in previous years.

Delta Air Lines lost more bags than any other carrier... a total of 573,419... about 1,500 bags a day.

Southwest Airlines, Portland's second-largest carrier (second only to Alaska and Horizon when their operations are combined), saw one of the biggest increases... with 27% more lost bags. In today's edition of USA Today, Southwest blames kinks in new baggage systems in Las Vegas, Baltimore, and Phoenix.

How Some of Portland's Airlines Stack-Up:
Reports of Lost Baggage Per 1,000 Passengers

Delta Air Lines: 7.1
American Airlines: 6.0
Northwest Airlines: 4.9
America West Airlines: 4.3
United Airlines: 4.3
Southwest Airlines: 4.3
Continental Airlines: 4.1

Read more at the Bureau of Transportation Statistics website.