1.2 million bags lost forever by airlines last year

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

LONDON - Airlines worldwide lost 1.2 million bags last year - one for every 2,000 passengers - but continue to fob off victims with low compensation, the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) said Tuesday.

The 1.2 million bags that were never seen again by their owners were among 42 million that were ‘mishandled’ in 2007, compared with 34 million in 2006 and 30 million in 2005.

AUC chairman Tina Tietjen said that although airlines should compensate passengers fairly, complaints to the body showed that ‘passengers often struggle to get reasonable redress from airlines after the event.’

‘…On too many occasions passengers are not fairly compensated for lost luggage because they do not have receipts for the items that were in their bag or because the airline is taking into account depreciation of the value of the items in the bag.

‘And with delayed baggage, passengers are often left out of pocket because airlines will not reimburse them fully for expenses they incurred buying essential items whilst they are without their bag,’ she added.

‘Airlines still too quick to load risk onto the passenger,’ she said.

The AUC said the number of mishandled bags could rise to 70 million in the next decade, with an expected doubling of air passenger numbers.

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