Worst US airlines for baggage loss and mishaps


I guess at least Southwest loses your luggage for free. [Holiday travel coming up, crosses fingers]


I wonder how much of this is Connection Time effects versus anything else (lost or misplaced). In the modern computerized-tracking era, I’ve only lost luggage when connection times were foolish-short (like 30 minutes to get from one end of the airport to the other).

I wonder if different airlines have different connection time policies (or maybe have different routes with fewer/more connections). I also wonder how much of this is airline versus airport.


It is true that most bags are “lost” (usually just delayed) as a result of connections.

Airlines publish MCT (minimum connection times) for every airport they serve. Usually it is included with the timetables that you can download from their website. Most domestic MCTs are 30-45 mins and international can be upwards of 2 hours. A legal connection has to account for the MCT for that airport and most reservation systems won’t allow you to book connections that don’t meet the MCT even if the planes are only a few gates apart.

Since most U.S. carriers are hub based, then the effects of having more operations at just a few airports will obviously skew the number of lost bag instances for those specific locations.


Thanks for the info! And whomever set the 40-min MCT through Amsterdam is either Usain Bolt, or on drugs and flying through the immigration line.


On drugs at Schiphol? Never!


This would be slightly more interesting if the denominator were bags checked. I suspect that one of the reasons that Southwest fares badly is that more people check bags because it is free.


That would explain why American Airlines does poorly. They had the worst on-time performance of any US airline last month, for example, and with an average delay of 56 minutes.

After a string of horrible experiences over the years, I now pay more to travel with some other airline.

Dinner plans, they were so nice
A fresh salmon packed in ice
From Stockholm to Prague will last, the owner thinks
Something must have gone quite wrong
'Cause it was routed through Hong Kong
This luggage was lost and found, and now it stinks.


Once was on a flight from Bangkok to London. Stopped without changing planes in New Delhi, but one of our bags was taken off anyway. Arrived in the UK about a week later during an epic snowstorm: the contents were still warm, although alas not smelling of jasmine or curry, which would have made for a better story.


The fish thingy is a true story. Happened to a friend a couple years ago.

Or both.

The title is about worst airlines, but the graphic is an ordered list of the best airlines, and it took me a while to 1) get over the shock of seeing Virgin in the top spot on what I thought was a “worst” list, and 2) realize it was ordered by the last column in increasing not decreasing order.


It’s usually really easy to check bags for free on Alaska. Just wait until you get to the gate. I fly Alaska pretty much exclusively now, and in the last 2 years I think there was only one flight where they didn’t offer voluntary free gate-check of bags. The flights tend to be really full, I assume because Alaska is cheap, so they’re happy to get those larger carry-ons out of the cabin and into the cargo.

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