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Hardside blue suitcase coming down the conveyor belt at baggage claim
Parilov | Adobe Stock

The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines for Checked Bags

Here’s a good reason to travel carry-on only next time you fly—during the first half of 2023, U.S. airlines lost or mishandled over 1.4 million bags. Out of 230 million bags that were checked in, 0.61 percent were lost or mishandled. (Mishandled luggage refers to any bag that has been lost, delayed, damaged, or stolen.)

Short-term luggage storage site LuggageHero analyzed data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the period of January to June 2023 to determine the best and worst airlines for luggage handling. 

According to the study, American Airlines mishandled or lost the most bags in the first six months of 2023, with 0.80 percent of bags going missing or arriving late/damaged. American Airlines, United, and Envoy were the worst U.S. airlines overall for handling luggage. 

If you must check a bag, try to fly on Allegiant, Endeavor Air, or Southwest, which LuggageHero named the best U.S. airlines for handling luggage. Allegiant Airline lost or mishandled just 0.16 percent of bags.

People collecting luggage at baggage claim
Brian Jackson | Adobe Stock

Tips for Preventing Lost Luggage

Reduce the chances of lost luggage by following these tips:

  1. Pack an Apple Air Tag or other tracking device inside your luggage
  2. Remove any old airline stickers or baggage tags before checking your bag
  3. Clearly label your luggage with your current contact information
  4. Avoid booking connecting flights
  5. Lock your suitcase with a TSA-approved lock

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