Archive for March, 2011

The Truth and The Causes Behind Airline Mishandled Luggage Statisitics

Posted on March 3, 2011. Filed under: Travel |

The Causes and the Truth behind Mishandled Luggage Statistics


Statistics: My research shows that many travelers who search the web about airline luggage are searching for information regarding lost luggage statistics; airport lost luggage statistics and mishandled airline luggage statistics.


Let’s explore the truth about mishandled luggage statistics and who the parties are that feed into the mill of mishandled luggage. The airline employees are the number one cause of mishandled luggage.  Carelessness in handling the luggage and moving the luggage and employee error during the check-in process are the number one reasons bags do not make it to same destination as you do.


The TSA is also responsible for mishandling your luggage due to their own equipment failures or lack of enough baggage screening equipment to process your luggage so the luggage makes it on the same flight you’re on. Staffing can also add to the equation, which slows down the process as well.


Inclement weather is a major cause of luggage mishandling, and after a major weather event in a certain part of the country it is not uncommon to see hundreds if not thousands of bags mishandled and waiting to be processed and reunited with their owners. Keep in mind that the airlines for a long time have trimmed their staffs to the bare minimum to reduce their costs, so it can be a daunting task for the remaining employees to handle the masses of lost luggage, and it can take days or weeks before you are reunited with your lost luggage—if you are lucky enough to see your luggage again.


Do the actual airports’ luggage moving systems cause mishandles? You bet they do. Not as frequently as the airlines do, but at airports in most cities government institutions own the luggage conveyer process and the airlines pay a monthly fee for the use of the system. This is one way that airports and city governments earn revenue at airports.


All of these entities or naturally-occurring variables cause luggage separations from passengers, but the only statistics you will ever find are the statistics reported by the airlines to the DOT (Department of Transportation). Click on this link: then click on the link that states “Air Travel Consumer Report.” You will find all the mishandled airline baggage statistics here, but keep in mind the reports are always two months behind the current date. Also keep in mind that only airlines who carry more than 1% of the total air travel volume in the United States must report their numbers, so this leaves many other niche market carriers who do not need to report their numbers to the DOT.


Not too long ago, JFK Airport in New York had a major luggage conveyer system outage which the airlines could not control. They had no responsibility for the breakdown, but now bear the burden of reuniting your luggage with you at their expense. Check out this YouTube video from a passenger flying out of JFK Airport. His advice to you is important to heed. You may need to turn your volume up on your computer or handheld to hear this video, but it rings true of the pitfalls and the reality of airline mishandled luggage:



Now please allow me to dispel the myths and share my expertise with you as to why mishandled luggage statistics are not a true or accurate measurement of an airline’s baggage-handling performance:


Baggage statistics are broken out by the airline in four categories. These  four categories are lost luggage, damaged luggage, delayed luggage, and pilfered luggage which are claims of property stolen from luggage.


When an airline reports their monthly baggage statistics to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the number they provide is an average of all four of these measurements combined, based on the total number of boarded passengers an airline carries system-wide for that month.  Keep in mind that all DOT baggage reports are available on the DOT website but are two months behind the current month.


Airlines are not required to reveal how many thefts they have in a month or how many bags are lost, stolen or delayed per category. Airlines also determine their percentage of mishandled luggage based on 1000 passengers boarded. For example; the end results are based on the assumption that all 1000 passengers that board an airplane checked a bag. Now if only 500 passengers out of 1000 who board an aircraft actually checked a bag. Then the airlines statistic of 4.5 bags mishandled per 1000 passengers boarded would actually be double. So statistics are not a good measurement of an airlines’ baggage handling performance.


The Empty Carousel will teach you the essentials you must know before you travel and quite possibly end up being one of these reported statistics, not to mention the loss of property, time, and frustration. All of these, as well as significant financial loss, are a very real possibility for today’s air travel consumer.


The Empty Carousel will provide you with answers to these questions and so much more. You will have the information you need to know now, before you travel. If you find that you have become an unfortunate statistic of airline luggage mishandling, TheEmptyCarousel will guide you on how to handle your situation.

Scott T. Mueller

Author The Empty Carousel a Consumer’s Guide to Checked and Carry-on Luggage

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I Survived the Christchurch Earthquake and My Airline does not Give a Damn

Posted on March 2, 2011. Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The letter pasted below was sent to me from a Delta Airline Customer who literally survived the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand and was lucky enough to get out of the crumbled place she was staying only to fly Delta on a portion of her trip back to Atlanta from Los Angeles and Delta lost her luggage! Read her story below and share it with your friends, family and business associates.   Folks it is time to stand up and demand to be treated with respect and excellent customer service. The airlines since charging you to check your luggage have created a new multi billion dollar revenue generator at the further expense of their customers. The airlines charge you for your luggage then lose it, damage it or? and they don’t even refund the money you paid because the airlines recently stated they do not promise to deliver your luggage on time or even with you! Read on,  get outraged and take a stand!


DELTA COMPLAINT FILED 02/28/11 on their form …

I was on Delta flight on February 26, 2011 from LAX to ATL. My luggage is missing (and last night someone else’s bag was brought to give me … but “not mine” so I told the courier to take it back to Delta.  Today I check and see that the online baggage site still shows Delta as having found my luggage and being in process of getting it to me (which was the wrong bag last night).  Please update this on the site!

My flight originated in Christchurch where I had survived the earthquake … but the house where I was didn’t make it so I had to stay with someone I didn’t know until the airport opened and I was able to get out.  We had no water, sewer (but glad I didn’t go to the shelter where they were making tourists leave on Air Force flights to Wellington and Auckland).

So now despite surviving  all of that, a simple thing such as finding my luggage seems insignificant.  That’s not why I’m writing.  I just want to let you know that a little customer service (meaning the person you talk to demonstrates an attitude of interest … not blank/disinterested and that YOU are the one that needs to figure out what to do).  And I’m trying.

I have called twice to let them know I still need to be listed on the online page … as missing my piece of luggage.  The individuals I’ve spoken with say there’s nothing they can do (but both times they offered – and did – leave messages for the Atlanta baggage claim office to call me).  The first Delta person I talked to said the people there said they were busy but would call me in about an hour or so. When over five hours went by .. and no called still … I called my SkyMiles customer service and she also gave the Atlanta baggage claims office a call … but no one answered.  She said she left them again a message for them to call me.

It’s now been over 24 hours … and still no one has called me!

Please see baggage claim ATLDL#####.

Had Atlanta baggage folk simply checked the barcode on the bag they shipped me (or taken the time to notice the name tag wasn’t my name … and maybe that would have gotten them to check barcode) then THAT customers would by now have their bag.

What happens to my claim … that I can’t get anyone to change … as certainly the site now continues to list my bag as located .. and in process of being delivered.  IT IS NOT!

With the attitude demonstrated by the Atlanta Baggage Claim personnel … it will be no surprise they find it easier to just send bags to the unclaimed pile … without making the little bit of extra effort that sometimes is required to take GOOD care of Delta’s customers.

I love it that you end by asking (below) do you want a reply?  How about someone seeing how well (or how poorly) your baggage claims works for me?  It would tell you a lot of issues that might provide benefit from some attention by Corporate staff.  I don’t know what the problem is … but there is a lack of interest in the customer service attitudes demonstrated by baggage claim personnel in Atlanta during my last two experiences (earlier one was during the ice storm).

Could I suggest you send someone in to have a first hand experience … as this is Delta’s problem to figure out.  I’m just going to sit back now and see if you ever produce my lost luggage.


If your not outraged at reading this letter then I can’t help you. Lets put Delta and all the airlines in the spot light until they treat us and our luggage the way we deserve to be treated!


Scott T. Mueller

Author The Empty Carousel a Consumer’s Guide to Checked and Carry-on Luggage


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