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Travelers gather their luggage before checking in for a flight at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California.
Sometimes, jumping into the maw of the modern commercial airline-industrial complex can leave you feeling more than just jetlagged and irritable. Especially when you arrive at your destination and your bag does not. The airline industry has been struggling in the economic downturn but it hasn’t received much sympathy from its customers as it has pushed off numerous charges like baggage fees and fuel surcharges onto travelers. And still they lose bags. But believe it or not, the airlines are losing your luggage at the lowest rates since statistics have been kept.
According to SITA, the airline-owned entity that tracks baggage handling mishaps, better than 99 percent of all passengers received their bags in the right place at the right time in 2012. That’s an error rate of nine lost bags per thousand, down from the high of 18 per thousand in 2005. And from January to June of this year, the 15 largest air carriers also set a record for on-time performance. Are airlines doing a better job of arriving on schedule and keeping track of millions of bags a year?
How do their numbers compare to the reality of air travel? What are your lost baggage horror stories?
Brett Snyder, writes a blog called “The Cranky Flier” about the airline industry for consumers from an insider’s perspective
Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of the blog “Ask The Pilot.com,” a resource website for travelers; as well as author of the upcoming book “Cockpit Confidential” (Sourcebooks 2013); has also contributed to Salon.com