Number of lost and damaged luggage at airport drops worldwide

There is some good news for crowded, fee-hating airline travellers: The rate of lost and damaged luggage has dropped more than 60 per cent worldwide over the last seven years, thanks to modernised baggage systems.

The rate of mishandled bags dropped from 19 bags per 1000 passengers in 2007 to seven bags per 1000 in 2014, according to a report from SITA, a Geneva-based airline technology company.

The decline comes as the total number of passengers flying worldwide has increased nearly 40 per cent in the same period, according to industry statistics.

"The great news for the travelling public is that more checked bags are being properly handled largely thanks to these investments and should improve baggage handling even further in 2015," said Victoria Day, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation's airlines.

But other factors could be at play. Studies have shown that passengers are flying with about 17 percent fewer bags since airlines began charging checked-bag fees in 2008.

Airlines also have self-serving reasons to invest in modern luggage handling systems: By cutting down on lost or damaged bags, the airline industry has saved $18 billion in the cost of reuniting lost bags with passengers, according to the SITA report.

Los Angeles Times