Christmas season highest time for lost luggage; we rank the airlines
You’d better watch out. With Christmas travel so popular, it’s not surprising that December is the top month for airlines to lose or mishandle your luggage. So if you’ll be carrying a suitcase filled with gifts on either end of your journey, you might want to book with the airline least likely to lose your bags.
At the bottom of the list, you’ll find American Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines and Skywest Airlines. Based on their performance over the past three years, those three airlines are the most likely to lose or mishandle your luggage this December.
Breaking down the findings:
- From 2016 to 2018, Virgin Atlantic lost or mishandled only 1.86 pieces of luggage per 1,000 during the month of December. Alaska Air followed with 2.34, and Spirit rounded out the top three with 3.03.
- Surprisingly, the best airline in 2018 alone wasn’t among the top 3 cumulatively. Frontier topped last year’s list, losing 4 pieces out of 1,000.
- Competing for the worst overall airlines in December from 2016 to 2018 was American Airlines with 5.56 pieces of lost or mishandled luggage out of 1,000. ExpressJet followed with 5.51 and Skywest with 5.03.
- The worst airline last December was American Airlines, with a mishandle rate of nearly 9 pieces of luggage per 1,000. (American has taken the bottom place for the last three years.)
Are travelers due for a Christmas gift?
What to do if you have the baggage blues
- If your bag doesn’t arrive, or is damaged or tampered with, report it to the airline immediately, preferably while you’re at the airport. Otherwise, call them as soon as possible. Document as much as you can with photos, and save any communication you can.
- If your bag is damaged, request repair or replacement. Airlines are responsible for repairing or reimbursing a passenger for damaged baggage and/or its contents when the damage occurs while the bag is under the airline’s control, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection division.
- If you’re flying within the United States, DOT rules state that your baggage is covered up to $3,500 per passenger and around $1,600 internationally. To collect, you need to fill out the necessary forms and have proof of loss.
- If your bag is lost and you need to replace essential items, the airline should reimburse you for those costs.