The airline industry claims it’s getting better at not losing our luggage, partly through improved tracking technology. But tens of millions of bags still go astray every year. So is it doing enough? It’s the most disconsolate feeling – waiting for your bag to appear on the luggage carousel after all the other passengers have picked up theirs.
Nearly half of all bags that go astray do so because of problems with flight transfers, Sita says. Delayed flights have knock-on effects – your bag just doesn’t make it to the connecting flight in time. And a significant proportion of missing bags are down to passengers or handlers simply picking up the wrong one.
Another contributory factor could be the complexity of the handling system. At some airports, airlines employ their own handlers, but at others the handlers are independent and contracted to multiple airlines.
Last year, Iata brought in a new regulation – Resolution 753 – aimed at making airlines and airports take better care of our luggage. Bags must now be checked as present and correct at several key points along the journey, explains Iata’s Andrew Price, including when they are loaded on to the plane and when they enter the transfer system at airports.