Passengers have even less of an excuse for not checking bags now, following a report by air transport IT specialist, SITA, which found that airline baggage delivery hit an all-time high in 2013, with the mishandling rate dropping more than 21% from 2012. The 10th annual SITA Baggage Report reported that the rate of mishandled bags (delayed, damaged or stolen bags that are the subject of a claim) in 2013 was 6.96 bags per thousand passengers. This is just half the rate reported 10 years ago, despite a 65.6% increase in passenger numbers over the same time period.
The report found that from 2012 to 2013, the rate of mishandled bags dropped 21.2%, and the total annual cost of mishandled bags to the industry fell 19.9%. Today, the annual cost of mishandled bags is 50% less than in 2007, when the number of mishandled bags peaked at 18.88 bags per thousand passengers. The industry has achieved this improvement even as passenger numbers rose more than 5% in 2013 to top three billion passengers globally.
In 2013, passengers reported 21.8 million mishandled bags, says the report. More than 81% of these were delayed bags, with baggage transfers between flights as the leading cause. Although transfer bags remain a challenge for the industry, performance in this area continues to improve.
In 2013, transfer bags accounted for 45% of delayed bags – 23.2% lower than 2012’s figures, says SITA. Improvements in transfer performance in recent years has been helped by greater messaging reliability, which enables bags with short connection times to be identified before they arrive at the airport. Better segregation of these “hot bags” in the aircraft and smart mobile devices, such as tablets for key operational staff, have also played an important role.
Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, said, “The industry has joined together to tackle the problem of mishandled bags, and we have seen great results. There is still more work to do, but 2013 was the best year ever, showing the benefits of this collaboration.