The Summer of Lost Luggage

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lost luggageMeeting planners are calling it “The Summer of Lost Luggage.”

According to the Department of Transportation’s latest Air Travel Consumer Report—data from May of 2022 that was released at the end of July—airline carriers handled 42.0 million bags and posted a mishandled baggage rate of 0.56%, up from the April 2022 rate of 0.55%.

In the previous three calendar year reports (2019 to 2022), the Department calculated the mishandled baggage rate based on the number of mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags; it now reports mishandled baggage data as a percentage.

Carriers also reported checking 72,332 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 1,110, for a rate of 1.53% mishandled wheelchairs and scooters—once again higher than the rate of 1.46% mishandled in April.

Internationally, according to Bloomberg, the number of travelers reporting stranded luggage this summer jumped 30% from 2019, according to the insurance company Mapfre SA.

Some carriers have gone to great lengths to return lost luggage. “We’ve gone as far as recently we had a separate charter just to repatriate bags back to customers that had been stranded because of some of the operational issues the European airports were having,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian was quoted saying in the Washington Post. “We did that on our own nickel just to reunite our Delta customers to their bags as quickly as possible.”

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.