Airlines told to cough up the cash on lost luggage

The Transportation Department is getting serious about lost luggage reimbursement. The department has told airlines that they can’t set arbitrary limits on reimbursement for the bags they lose – or items that they have to replace because of delays. Several airlines, the DOT says, will only pay for necessities that passengers buy more than 24 hours after they hit the ground without their bags. And, they limit their willingness to pay to outbound trips. So, if you’re on your way home, you may get stuck with the tab.

The fed’s regs put the airlines on the hook for up to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights for expenses resulting from lost or delayed luggage.

The Transportation Department is going to monitor the situation for 90 days, it says, then take enforcement steps against airlines that don’t play ball. One airline, the DOT disclosed, was fined last month for only footing the bill on outbound trips and only for items bought after that first 24-hour window after passengers landed.



US Airports Set a Record. One Million Bags Lost in Two Months

It hardly seems possible, but over one million bags were lost, damaged or delayed at US airports in June and July 2007 alone. Don’t worry though, many of those must have been mine!

I agree with this Washington Post article, suggesting that the baggage claim odyssey these days is the last straw in the nightmare we call modern air travel: delayed flights, mile-long security lines, strip-searches, cramped seats…and finally the climax of no luggage to be claimed, experienced by over one million passengers. Yes, there are more flights now than there used to be, but according to the statistics, the numbers of misplaced bags per one thousand passengers have more than doubled since 2002.

It is certainly not just a US problem. Last year in September, I blogged about my bag getting misplaced in Barcelona. The good news is, they eventually found it. The bad news is, it took them over two months.