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DOT Data Shows Which Airline Has the Best (And Worst) Track Record for Luggage

Nov. 17, 2018
3 min read
Young man waiting for baggage
DOT Data Shows Which Airline Has the Best (And Worst) Track Record for Luggage
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The Department of Transportation (DOT) has released data in its latest air travel report about one of the many aspects of travel that can completely make or break your airport experience: luggage mishandling. Let's just say the results may make you reconsider your loyalty.

In the study conducted, the DOT essentially compared the track record for the top airlines' handling of baggage by revealing the rate of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers. "Mishandled" encompasses a whole array of problems that could go wrong after you check your bag, including lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered luggage. The data comes from passenger reports received by airlines.

So, what did the study find?

In order from most mishandled bags to least, here are the results:

  • Envoy Air: 6.21 mishandled bags per 1,000 (Envoy Air is a subsidiary of American Airlines)
  • ExpressJet Airlines: 5.87 mishandled bags per 1,000 (ExpressJet Airlines operates as American Eagle and United Express)
  • SkyWest Airlines: 4.69 mishandled bags per 1,000 (SkyWest Airlines carries United, Delta, Alaska, and American Airlines flights)
  • American Airlines: 4.34 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • United Airlines: 3.15 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • Alaska Airlines: 3.09 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • Southwest Airlines: 2.90 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • Frontier Airlines: 2.77 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 2.58 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • JetBlue Airways: 1.97 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • Delta Air Lines: 1.94 mishandled bags per 1,000
  • Spirit Airlines: 1.84 mishandled bags per 1,000

In very last place, Envoy Air had a rate of 6.21 mishandled bags out of every 1,000. It doesn't help that the airline is a subsidiary of American Airlines, because AA was the lowest ranking major US airline in its own entity, coming in at 4.24 mishandled bags for every 1,000. On the other hand, it may be to your surprise that low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines took the cake here with only 1.84 mishandled bags for every 1,000. The highest ranking major US airline in this category was Delta, coming in second place with 1.94 mishandled bags for every 1,000.

While the variance among the airlines' results only change in the thousandth decimal place, this data could surely reconstruct your inclination to fly with a certain airline, especially if luggage is a main factor for you.

The concern of mishandled luggage has been especially prevalent lately as travelers have spotted and shared footage of baggage handlers abusing their belongings time and time again. Not to mention the frustration that envelops frequent flyers when they don't spot their suitcase at baggage claim. And while several credit cards provide baggage insurance, it's still unsettling to be without the belongings you've deemed so essential that they've made the cut into your zippered or clamped travel companion.

Next time you find yourself watching an empty baggage belt go round and round at the airport, check out to getting reimbursed for lost or delayed luggage.

H/T: Business Insider

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto