The Airlines and Airports That Lost the Most Luggage This Year, According to a New Study

The study found Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport the biggest culprit for missing bags.

Passengers line up at check-in desks of the respective airlines at Düsseldorf Airport

Thomas Banneyer/picture alliance via Getty Images

There’s nothing worse than losing your luggage, and depending on the airline or airport some bags will have a better — or worse chance of reuniting with their owners.

Overall, more than half of people recently surveyed said an airline has lost their luggage in the past, and just 34% of them have received their missing bags, according to a recent study by limo booking service Price4Limo, which was shared with Travel + Leisure. In fact, 78% of people surveyed said they get nervous about checking bags. 

"Losing luggage is always a painful ordeal, regardless of the airport or airline you fly out of,” Rachel Kirsch, a creative strategist for Price4Limo, told T+L. “Regardless of where you travel, lost luggage can be a nightmare come true. Unfortunately, odds are if it hasn’t happened to you already, it’ll likely happen at some point during your travels."

Of all national airlines, American Airlines lost the most bags in 2022, losing 850 bags per 100,000. That was followed by JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines. 

A representative for American did not immediately respond to a request for comment from T+L.

When it came to airports losing luggage, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport had the most issues, followed by Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, and San Diego International Airport. 

Of all travelers who lost their luggage, an overwhelming 72% of them said they lost an irreplaceable item. 

Luggage issues came to a head over the summer as airlines and airports struggled to keep up with demand amid a combination of staffing shortages and air traffic control problems. But lost luggage is unfortunately nothing new: In 2021, for example, the number of delayed, damaged, lost, or stolen bags increased by 24%.

Travelers who do lose their bags should immediately notify their airline and make sure to hold onto their baggage claim check slip. It's also helpful if travelers take photos of their luggage to show airport staff as well as know the bag's brand, size, color, and condition (in case it gets damaged along the way).

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