Lost Luggage Cost Airlines Billions Last Year

GENEVA, Switzerland, Saturday May 13, 2017 – Last year, lost luggage cost carriers around the world US$2.1 billion, according to airline information technology company SITA.

What might sound like an alarming figure is nevertheless a big improvement on losses in 2015, with the 2016 count working out to fewer than six bags per 1,000 passengers – down 12.5 percent year on year.

In its annual report on airline baggage handling released last week, SITA nevertheless pointed out that the chances your bags will be misplaced are far higher if you’re making a connection, with 47 percent of delayed bags in the process of being transferred at the time they were mislaid.

Overall, airlines are said to be getting smarter about baggage handling, however, and are relying on technology to help them improve. In fact, airlines are now 70 percent less likely to lose our bags than they were 10 years ago.

According to Ilya Gutlin, SITA president, air travel solutions: “It is frustrating for passengers and airlines when bags go missing but the days of not knowing where your bag is will soon to be a thing of the past.

“We are on the brink of a new era in airline baggage management because the world’s airlines are committing to track baggage throughout its journey.”

SITA expects airlines will lose even fewer bags this year, as they near the June 2018 deadline for the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) baggage tracking Resolution 753.

“This requires data capture, management and sharing across airlines, airports and ground handlers giving a better view of where each piece of luggage is at every stage,” Gutlin said.

Qatar Airways became the first airline in the world to comply with the resolution last month, over a year ahead of schedule. The airline lets customers track their checked bags through the “Track My Bags” feature on its website and mobile app.

Also making strides is Delta Airlines, which invested $50 million dollars last year to install an RFID tag baggage-tracking system which keeps tabs on your trunks, duffels and rollers from the check-in desk right through to the baggage claim.

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