Good News for Travelers: Airlines Are Now Losing Fewer Bags

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Having an airline lose your luggage is the travel headache that keeps on giving: Instead of enjoying your vacation, you'll be stuck filling out forms at the airport and finding the nearest H&M for fresh clothes. Luckily for plane passengers, Travel + Leisure reports that airports and airlines are mishandling fewer checked bags than ever before.

According to an annual report released last week by multinational airline information technology company SITA, fewer than six bags per 1000 passengers were mishandled last year—a figure that’s down 12.25 percent from 2015, and the lowest recorded rate in history [PDF]. That said, SITA also found that 47 percent of delayed bags were ones being transferred (meaning, if you’re making a connection, it’s probably a good idea to stash an extra outfit, a toothbrush, and important medications in your carry-on).

In the past decade, new technologies have helped mishandled bag rates fall by 70 percent, according to SITA's findings. And in the next year or so, they’re expected to drop even further: As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the International Air Transport Association, a trade association of the world’s airlines, has developed a new baggage tracking resolution mandating most of the world’s airlines to have baggage tracking systems by June 2018. Once they comply, SITA estimates that mishandled luggage rates will fall 25 percent in the next five years.

The Department of Transportation releases its own monthly air travel consumer report, which includes statistics on U.S. airlines’ mishandled baggage. According to the DOT, fewer than three per 1000 passengers dealt with mishandled baggage in 2016. This was the lowest annual rate since the department first started collecting mishandled baggage report data in September 1987.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]