Airports and Airlines Most Likely to Lose or Damage Your Luggage

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What airport is most likely to lose luggage? Or trash it? Which airlines should attendees who like to check their bags avoid? Here’s the data.

Lost and damaged baggage might be more common than you would think. Sixty percent of respondents to a survey by Price4Limo said their luggage came off the conveyor belt damaged, which is just slightly more than the 55 percent whose luggage never did appear. The good news is that about a third did eventually get their bags back, though the average MIA time was six days. It’s no wonder that 82 percent said they worry every time they drop off their bag at the check-in counter.

Price4Limo combined data from the 2022 Air Travel Consumer Report and Google search trends to compile a list of the airports and airlines most likely to maul, mishandle or lose luggage. Here’s the scoop:

Chicago O’Hare International Airport tops the list of airports that lost the most luggage this year, according to keyword data. Of course, O’Hare is also the third busiest airport in the U.S. — pre-COVID, it came in just behind Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, according to World Atlas. O’Hare also was near the top of the U.S. airport list this year for flight cancellations and delays, which can contribute to lost luggage woes.

The second and third-place airport luggage losers, according to the Price4Limo study, were Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and San Diego International Airport, followed by Austin-Bergstrom International; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta; Charlotte Douglas International; Los Angeles International; Washington Dulles International; Philadelphia International; and Tampa International.

Of course, airlines are also a big piece of the missing or mishandled luggage problem. American Airlines takes the dubious honor of being the major U.S. airline that most consistently lost or otherwise mishandled luggage in 2022. Just how big an issue is it? American lost, damaged, delayed or otherwise misplaced about 850 out of 100,000 suitcases, according to the Price4Limo data. Among the major U.S. carriers, JetBlue was next, with 670 per 100,000, followed by Alaska, United and Delta.

The airline least likely to lose your luggage? Southwest, with just 380 bags lost per 100,000 handled. Hawaiian Airlines and Allegiant, both of which cater more to the carry-on crowd and so have the least amount of checked luggage to lose, also came out as among the airlines smallest losers. However, Allegiant did experience a 700 percent increase in damaged bag claims this year, so while your luggage may show up, it may not show up intact. Then again, all airlines had increases in damage claims this year, likely due to a combination of increases in cancellations and delays and a shortage of baggage handling staff.

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