Travelers’ Odds Decline on Airline Baggage

Written by  //  November 21, 2007  //  Aviation & Aerospace, Science & Technology  //  Comments Off on Travelers’ Odds Decline on Airline Baggage

November 21, 2007

CHICAGO — Why do so many passengers get off the plane only to discover that their baggage did not make the trip with them?
American Airlines started asking that question with greater urgency a year ago, and its search for answers led to, among other problems, dirty printer heads.
Workers at American found that printers that produce adhesive tags for bags were often dirty. That made bar codes hard to read, leading to misdirected bags. Regular wiping of the printer heads helped, but even with a clean printer, the bar code readers are only about 90 to 92 percent accurate, said Denise P. Wilewski, manager of airport services for American here. …
Lost baggage is actually a worse problem than reflected in the big airlines’ statistics. Smaller regional airlines misplace bags at a higher rate. But they report their statistics separately, even though many passengers travel on these regional airlines for one leg of their trip.
Counting together American and the regional airline it owns, American Eagle, mishandled bags rise to 8.69 for every thousand passengers, or a total of 639,146 through Sept. 30.
American Eagle had the worst bag-handling record of 20 airlines tracked by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics during that period, the agency reported. Article

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