Air travel has been rocky this summer.
Besides flight cancellations and delays, lost and delayed bags are just another headache travelers are dealing with.
As lost luggage piles up around the country and world, the nightmare stories are piling up, too.
There’s the local teen who arrived in France for a soccer tour, while his luggage did not. In another instance, an Air Canada passenger who lost his luggage while flying through from Toronto to Austin via DFW Airport. He claimed to have made 76 calls to find it and only got through to an agent three times.
These stories have become the norm during this chaotic and record breaking summer travel season.
Data recently released by the Department of Transportation shows nearly 220,000 bags were “mishandled” by U.S. airlines in April 2022, meaning they were lost, damaged, delayed or stolen. Those numbers are expected to be worse this summer.
The problem is that airports and airlines don’t have enough staff to handle the surge in travelers as well as their bags.
It’s gotten so bad that Delta Airlines even flew a plane loaded with 1,000 bags – not people – from London to Detroit.
Experts say there’s no quick fix to all this.
“It’s all over the world. It’s not a U.S. problem. And it’s not an airline specific problem. It’s a global industry problem,” said Roy Cohen, a logistics expert and CEO of Fetcherr. “It’s a once in five decades [issue] because we are in a new reality. And you cannot use yesterday’s technologies for today’s issues. And this is exactly what’s going on today. In the industry, I’m talking with many, many airlines and they are absolutely on it and they care a lot about their customers. But it’s a process and we need to be patient.”
Here’s some tips from travel experts to avoid losing your bags:
- If you can, avoid checking a bag. There are reports of people are choosing to travel with carry-ons only.
- If you do check a bag, get a tracking device like an Apple tag, put it inside the bag so you can track it on your cell phone.
- Don’t put expensive valuables or items you absolutely need, like a laptop, inside your checked bag.
- Make sure to put an ID tag with your name and phone number both outside and inside your bag.
- Take photos of your luggage before you travel in case it gets lost.
Per U.S. regulations, airlines must compensate passengers for lost, delayed or damaged luggage, up to a limit. Policies vary airline to airline so check with the airline you are flying with. Be sure hold onto those check bag receipts because they’ll ask for it.