Airlines Get Lost-Luggage Rates Down to Pre-Pandemic Levels

(Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash)
(Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash)

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The days of post-pandemic sky-rage could soon be behind us.

Sita, a software company that handles computer systems for 90% of airlines around the world, told the BBC that airlines are finally getting a handle on a lost-luggage situation that got seriously out of control after fliers came flocking back to plane travel post-lockdowns.

Emotional Baggage

Sita’s data showed that in 2022, when airborne tourism rebounded with a vengeance, nearly eight in every 1,000 pieces of luggage carried by airlines were either lost, damaged, or delayed, according to Sita’s data. While that amounts to less than 1% of total bags transported, it caused mountains of luggage to pile up in some airports. The head of Frankfurt’s airport even urged passengers to pick more colorful cases because he said a deluge of similar-looking black suitcases made identifying their owners much more “time-intensive.”

While the data for the full year of 2023 isn’t in yet, Sita head of baggage Nicole Hogg told the BBC the situation’s already looking much improved:

  • In the first six months of this year, 5.7 million pieces of luggage were mishandled. That’s 100,000 less than the same period in 2019.
  • A major cause behind 2022’s travel chaos was staff shortages. While those may have abated slightly, they’re not quite a relic yet

A shortage in air traffic controllers has crimped airlines’ style this summer, with Europe lacking some 700 to 1,000 controllers, per the Financial Times.

The Ghost of Covid Past: The ripple effects of 2020 are far from over for some airlines. Australian airline Qantas got slapped with a class-action lawsuit this week by customers who claim that the airline failed to refund them for flights canceled due to the pandemic, and that they were given credits, but were then forced to pay extra to rebook flights or else lose the credit entirely.