A staggering 1.3 million bags were not lost when compared to statistics from the previous year.
Normally, airlines would have a good reason to be proud of this result. It could be because they are paying more attention to their baggage procedures, or simply that their staff are learning to be more respectful of our belongings, but sadly, the reason they are losing less luggage has a far more logical explanation.
People are not checking as many bags.
The airlines, in their infinite wisdom decided that checking a bag is a luxury that should be sold to us, in addition to our ticket fee.
Too many passengers refuse to pay this fee, so as more people drag all their luggage on board the plane, fewer bags have to be placed in the baggage hold. It all makes perfect sense.
American Airlines was the clear winner with a 26% improvement over 2007. But of course, American Airlines was also the first of the major carriers to introduce the pay-to-check baggage scheme.
Eventually, the whole thing will probably come back and bite the airlines in the ass. As more people carry more stuff on to the plane, departure times will get delayed, flight attendants will have to spend more time finding space for bags that don’t fit in the overhead compartment, and passengers will still get their bags checked for free when the crew have to do a gate check for any bags that can’t be stored in the cabin.