Last month I wrote a column about the sad state of affairs when it comes to lost luggage (“Limp the Unfriendly Skies“). We received a nice note from one of our readers asking if the situation was really that bad. In that article I was sharing figures from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics—I wasn’t sharing my own opinion on the subject. I couldn’t do that as it would be unsuitable for print. My luggage was delayed, damaged, lost or actually destroyed in 11 of my last 15 flights. That’s not only extremely annoying and disruptive but also quite expensive as the airlines are currently at the point where they simply find an excuse not to reimburse you or they do it at a rate of 5% of the true value. They don’t care. They have nothing to lose. What are you going to do about it—hire yourself a lawyer to pursue the situation at a cost of one hundred times the value of your bag? The airlines are well aware of your choices and simply smile as you fill out your claim.
As I mentioned, that previous article was written two months ago. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics just released their latest figures which relate to the month of August. I could never figure out why they’re always two months behind but I guess it’s rather obvious that it takes that long to count the high number of bags in question.
In reviewing the most recent figures, I’ve got to surmise that Ripley wouldn’t believe these figures, and I’m certain he wouldn’t publish them in his famed “Believe It Or Not” annual publication.
The number of bags lost or delayed by airlines continues to climb, with a daily average of 14,089 in August, according to Washington’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That’s a lot of bags! However, keep in mind that the number listed is a daily average! That means that for the 31 days of August, airlines combined experience and talent to lose or delay 436,759 bags! Come on! What are they doing … digging holes at the end of runways and simply bulldozing the luggage into the craters as it comes off the plane? That’s four hundred and thirty-six thousand, seven hundred and fifty nine bags! You have to send people, in great numbers, to training seminars on luggage destruction to attain those kind of stats!
It was the worst month for baggage-handling since the one-time meltdown in December 2004. US Airways was the worst offender on record.
With teamwork, focus and determination, I’m quite certain that record will more than likely be broken as we approach the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, we won’t know that until we see those figures in the spring of next year … at which time it will appear to be old news and therefore we won’t care!