Is there anything worse than arriving at your destination for a long-awaited vacation only to realize that your luggage didn’t make it? Lost luggage can be a logistical nightmare, but you can hedge your bets by avoiding these ten airlines notorious for losing their customers’ belongings.
By the Numbers
A 2022 report by Price4Limo used data from Air Travel Consumer Reports and a survey of 1,000 travelers to compile a list of the ten worst airlines for lost luggage. The rankings take into account the number of bags lost per 100,000 pieces of luggage handled in a single year.
1: Republic Airways
Passengers of the Indianapolis-based regional airline Republic Airways have a higher chance of not enjoying their trip than most. For every 100,000 bags the airline handled, 930 ended up lost. That equates to a staggering nearly 1% of travelers arriving at their destination without their bags.
2: American Airlines
While Republic had the worst overall track record regionally, American Airlines lost the most luggage nationally, landing the airline in hot water with its passengers. For every 100,000 bags it handled, American lost 850 pieces of luggage.
3: Envoy Air
Operating mostly as a regional subsidiary of American Airlines, Envoy followed suit with its national partner’s track record of lost luggage. The Dallas-based airline lost an average of 750 bags for every 100,000 handled.
New York-based JetBlue does a lot of business in its bustling home airport of JFK. This large volume in one of the world’s busiest airports might account for the airline’s loss of 670 bags for every 100,000 handled, according to Price4Limo.
5: PSA Airlines
Another subsidiary of American, PSA Airlines also has a pretty poor track record of getting luggage to its final destination. The Ohio-based regional airline misplaced 660 bags for every 100,000 it handled.
6: Alaska Airlines
America’s fifth largest airline, Alaska Airlines, does lots of business in the Northwest US as long as it can get those bags to their final destinations. The Seattle-based airline has a bad track record of losing 640 bags for every 100,000 it handled in 2022.
7: United Airlines
United Airlines also has a pretty poor track record of getting luggage to its final destination. The Chicago-based airline misplaced 620 bags for every 100,000 it handled.
8: Mesa Airlines
Phonex-based Mesa Airlines is not having a great year. The regional airline not only lost 600 bags for every 100,000 it handled in 2022, but it also posted a $47.6 million loss and a 15% drop in revenue for Q3 of 2023 as it transitioned into a new partnership with United Airlines.
9: Delta Airlines
Atlanta is home to one of the world’s busiest airports, so it’s no surprise that lost luggage is part of the daily grind for Delta Airlines, which calls Atlanta its home base. Delta lost an average of 540 bags for every 100,000 handled in 2022.
10: Spirit Airlines
Spirit is famed for its low fares and no-frills service. Unfortunately, this combination leads to a laissez-faire attitude with luggage; Spirit lost around 530 bags for every 100,000 it handled last year.
Most Responsible Airline
Of all the airlines included in Price4Limo’s report, SkyWest Airlines took the best care of its passengers’ luggage. The Utah-based regional airline lost only 0.48% of the bags it handled and had the lowest increase in damaged baggage at just 61%.
Increase in Damages
Lost luggage isn’t the only major issue travelers need to be aware of. Nearly all airlines saw an increase in damaged bags in 2022, with budget airline Allegiant being the worst offender, thanks to a 700% annual increase in damaged luggage.
Airports With the Most Lost Luggage
The airline isn’t always to blame when luggage goes missing. Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport, and San Diego International Airport are the worst offenders when it comes to losing travelers’ bags on the ground.
How to Prevent Lost Luggage
While you can always try to prepare for the worst, sometimes things (like lost luggage) just happen. The best way to avoid this major mishap is to travel light and bring only a well-packed carry-on that ensures you won’t be separated from your bags.
Capitalizing on Lost Luggage
Do you know what happens when airlines can’t reunite lost suitcases with their owners? Unclaimed Baggage is the only lost luggage thrift store in the US. They’ve had some unique (and living) finds.
Worst Plane Crashes That Gutted the World
Flying is statistically the safest form of transportation, but accidents happen. These are some of the most notorious plane crashes in history.
11 Tips for Sleeping Like a Baby on Planes
Even the best sleepers can have trouble falling asleep on planes. Learn tricks from frequent travelers to help you catch some z’s during your next flight.
To Change a Baby’s Diaper in an Airplane Seat or Not to: The Great Debate
Whether or not it’s okay to change a baby’s diaper on an airplane seat is a topic parents and single travelers have strong feelings about. A flight attendant and passengers share their points of view.
8 Scary Plane Experiences Told by Flight Attendants
Turbulence isn’t the only thing that makes being a flight attendant’s job rough. Read stories from brave flight attendants who candidly open up about the scariest experiences they’ve had on board.