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One of the most frustrating experiences of air travel is arriving at your destination to find that your bag didn’t make it. Even worse is then finding out that the airline doesn’t even know where your bag is. Unfortunately, my wife and I have experienced this twice in the last few months. Thankfully, both times we booked with a Citi Prestige Card and were able to score up to $500 in necessary expenses while we waited for our bag to show up.

While arriving without your luggage is a pain to deal with, the numbers show that a lost/delayed bag is actually a rare occurrence. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), “more than 4 billion bags are carried by airlines globally. Less than 0.43 percent do not arrive with their owners.” In the US, it’s even better. The “mishandled baggage” rate was just to 2.32 per 1,000 passengers (0.232%) in June. But, without baggage tracking, it might be a while before the lost bag is found and recovered.

The IATA and Airlines for America (A4A) are working to make finding lost baggage a lot easier. By June 2018, the IATA member airlines have resolved to track checked baggage “when it is accepted at the airport, loaded onto the aircraft, transferred to the arrival system or put into the transfer system for carriage by another airline.”


This information would be shared between airlines with interline agreements. This means that if the bag that you checked with American Airlines doesn’t arrive on your Japan Airlines flight, JAL agents will be able to see the history of the checked bag and see where the bag was last scanned.

Thankfully airlines like American Airlines and Delta have already implemented baggage tracking. So, the benefits from this new resolution will most likely be on international trips and on international carriers.

We at TPG applaud these efforts and look forward to them being fully implemented soon. But, until June 2018, here are some tips for preventing a lost checked bag.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.

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