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You Should Know Which Airlines Are Mishandling Your Bags The Most

By Parker Diakite

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With a sharp increase in canceled flights and a battle with union mechanics, it’s been a rough summer for American Airlines and their troubles don’t stop there.

Turns out, they have a problem with handling passengers’ baggage as well.

The airline recently ranked near the bottom in mishandled bags this year among major airliners, according to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer. A total of 528,630 bags were mishandled in the first six months of 2019.  United reportedly mishandled 281,665 bags within the same time period.

The Department of Transportation considers lost, damaged, delayed, or pilfered bags as “mishandled.” According to the DOT, American Airlines was the worst among 10 U.S. carriers.

For the month of June alone, American Airlines mishandled approximately 11 checked bags per 1,000 boarded in June. The airline network had approximately 10.6 million checked bags on its flights that month.

Southwest Airlines mishandled half as many bags, five missed bags per 1,000, despite boarding more bags in June than American: 10.9 million.

So, which airport is mishandling baggage the most? The answer is Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), a regional hub for American Airlines accounting for nearly 70% of the airport’s traffic. 

The airline, which has been under fire for its sharp rise in cancellations as a result of taking the Boeing 737 aircraft out its fleet, has blamed out-of-service aircrafts and weather on their baggage handling.

“Our biggest challenge in the operation continues to be out-of-service aircraft,” American Airlines spokesman Andrew Trull told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This reduces our ability to react to and recover from unexpected disruptions like severe weather.”

Earlier this summer, American Airlines told the publication that severe weather limited the ability of ground teams to offload luggage in Philadelphia on Aug. 22. Delta and Southwest, however, said the weather did not play a role in their baggage handling that night.  

If you find yourself in a situation where your bag was mishandled, keep in mind that some credit card companies will reimburse you for the cost of necessary personal and business items.

You can find the full report below.

Mishandled Bags by Airline

(Based on the first 6 months of the year)

American528,630
Southwest284,404
United281,665
Alaska74,530
JetBlue37,541
Spirit29,024
Frontier20,793
Allegiant6,088
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