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Worst Airlines for Losing Your Luggage

According to yesterday's Wall Street Journal, the three major airline carriers--American, United, and Delta--hold the highest "lost luggage" rate. United's mishandled baggage rate during the past 10 years is 29% higher than the best rated airline, Continental.

Delayed flights causing missed connections are the primary reason for luggage blunders. And as the on-time performance of the nation's carriers sprials down, mishandled baggage rates spike up. Here are the mishandled-bag rates per 1,000 passengers:

United - 5.49
American - 5.30
Delta - 5.00
US Airways - 4.89
Northwest - 4.74
Alaska - 4.58
Southwest - 4.48
Continental - 4.25

One reason that these rates might improve...higher checked-luggage fees. As airlines have added fees for bag checking, passengers are checking less. Presumably, this smaller quantity of luggage should translate into better luggage service, but only time will tell...

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