These Are the U.S. Airlines Most Likely to Lose or Damage Your Bags

The chances of your luggage arriving safely varies by airline, report shows.

Standing at the baggage carousel can often feel like a game of chance: Will my luggage show up on the conveyor belt? Will it still be in one piece or have been rummaged through? According to a report by LuggageHero, however, the chances of your suitcase being mishandled in 2020 was only 0.4%.

While the total number of mishandled bags still sounds high at 853,821, that's out of a total 203,324,335 that were on board flights for the year. One of the major factors in luggage handling seems to boil down to the airline, the report says.

Allegiant Air topped the list for the second year in a row for the best luggage handling, with only 0.15% being mishandled. It was followed by Southwest and Hawaiian at about equal rates.

On the other end of the scale, American Airlines had the worst record, nudging past Envoy Air, which had the worst baggage handling rate in 2019. American mishandled baggage at a rate of 0.597% and Envoy at 0.587% in 2020, the report showed.

LuggageHero also crunched the numbers for the best time of year to ensure the safety of your baggage. While data from 2020 may not reflect normal trends, January 2020 — when air traffic was relatively still normal — was the worst, with 205,040 mishandled bags, of which 46,598 were by American Airlines. September had the least number, with 2.87 of every 1,000 bags mishandled.

baggage claim conveyor at Philadelphia International Airport
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty

Mishandled baggage, in this case, is defined by suitcases that are lost, delayed, damaged, or pilfered through.

While the comparison of pandemic-era travel data may not be the most indicative of trends, the company has been ranking airlines in this aspect for several years. In 2018, they found Delta, Spirit, and JetBlue to be the best at handling bags, and Envoy to be the worst. Last year, Allegiant, Frontier, and Hawaiian were the best, while Envoy came in last.

LuggageHero, which provides luggage storage options in 450 global locations, looked at data on mishandled baggage in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Reports and generated pivot tables to compare and analyze the insights.

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