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Tue 9 Apr 2013 03:53 PM

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Mishandled baggage cost air industry US$2.6bn

Total cost higher than in 2011 but cost per passenger declines

Mishandled baggage cost air industry US$2.6bn
Baggage handlers unload a cargo container from a plane following a warning strike at Tegel Airport on March 2, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Over a hundred baggage handlers and ticketing agents employed by Globe Ground launched a three-and-a-half hour warning strike as part of a dispute over wages that delayed flights at Tegel. Labour union representatives warned of similar disruptions to come at Berlins Schoenefeld Airport. (Getty Images)

Mishandled bags at airports cost the airline industry US$2.6 billion last year, according to the company that handles baggage at 125 airports worldwide.

The total cost was nearly 3 percent higher than 2011, however, the cost per passenger declined by one cent to 88 cents, according to SITA.

More than 26 million bags were mishandled – lost, stolen, delayed or damaged – during 2012. That’s more than the 25.32 million in 2011, but almost half the 46.9 million recorded in 2007.

Delayed bags accounted for 82.9 percent of all mishandled bags, while damaged or pilfered bags represented 12.9 percent and 4.2 percent were reported lost or stolen.

SITA said with 2.95 billion passengers during 2012 – an increase of 19 percent compared to 2007 - the number of mishandled bags per 1000 passengers was declining, falling to 8.83 last year.

“Over the past six years, the rate of mishandled bags per thousand passengers has fallen 53.2 percent, saving the industry US$2.1 billion in 2012 compared to 2007,” SITA CEO Francesco Violante said.

“While there is still work to be done because any mishandled bag is unwelcome; the six-year trend shows that our collaborative efforts to improve baggage handling are paying off to the benefit of both passengers and airlines.”

SITA, which manages baggage for 500 airlines, said airports were investing billions of dollars in processes and systems to baggage handling efficiency and the speed with which bags travel through the airport.

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Bob Hobson 7 years ago

There is nothing worse than finding out after a long day of travel that your bags didn't make it. Last year in Rome I found out that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure certainly applies when it comes to getting your misplaced luggage returned. Okoban tracker tags are equal to way more than a pound of cure in my book. They allow the airline or anyone else who finds your bags to immediately contact you by email or text (without revealing your personal information) with a pickup location. I got mine at Mystufflostandfound.com It worked like a charm for me and I ended up getting my lost bag back in less than 2 hours.