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Study Suggests American Mishandled Most Bags in 2020

Study Suggests American Mishandled Most Bags in 2020
Joe Cortez

New data from LuggageHero suggests flyers who travel aboard American Airlines or their regional subsidiary Envoy Air are most likely to have their luggage mishandled. Despite a depressed year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines still handled over 200 million bags, with 850,000 getting lost or damaged.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic forced many flyers to stay grounded throughout 2020, the major U.S.-based air carriers still handled over 200 million bags – with some inevitably getting mishandled along the way. According to new data by LuggageHero, American Airlines and their regional subsidiary, Envoy Air, mishandled the most luggage throughout the year.

American Airlines, Envoy Air and Republic Airlines Mishandled Most Bags in 2020

The research from LuggageHero shows that due to the pandemic, 16 passenger-carrying airlines combined mishandled 853,000 bags. This was down by nearly two million compared to 2019, when the airlines lost or damaged 2.8 million pieces.

Even with the spread of the novel Coronavirus, airlines continued to operate with socially-distanced aircraft for those on essential travel. Despite a significant drop in flying luggage, American is credited with mishandling the most. The Fort Worth-based airline lost 0.597 percent of the bags entrusted to them, overtaking their regional subsidiary Envoy Air for the worst spot. Republic Airways, a regional carrier that flies for the legacy airlines, came in third worst.

Among the best were the smaller airlines working primarily in the leisure space. Ultra-low-cost-carrier Allegiant Air lost the fewest bags in 2020, followed by Southwest Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

Losing your luggage isn’t just about which carrier you fly – it’s equally about when you fly. LuggageHero’s information shows airlines mishandled the most luggage in January 2020. On average, the airlines lost 5.49 bags per 1,000 passengers emplaned. Meanwhile, “back to school” season is the best for luggage. Airlines mishandled the fewest bags in September 2020, with 2.87 bags experiencing issues per 1,000 passengers.

Flyers Have Rights When Bags Get Lost or Mishandled

LuggageHero says when bags get mishandled, passengers still retain some rights. After filing a report with the airline and retaining a copy, the group says passengers may be able to recover costs of replacing essential items from airlines, and can even request a replacement or repair for damaged bags.

View Comments (4)


  1. jaimelobo

    March 31, 2021 at 5:10 am

    “American Mishandled Most Bags in 2020 … The Fort Worth-based airline lost 0.597 percent of the bags”

    I don’t think too many people would consider a little over 1/2% to be “most bags”.

    Perhaps what you meant to say is “American Mishandled Bags the Most in 2020” ?

  2. tombak2004

    March 31, 2021 at 7:50 am

    “Most” means 50%+. “The most” would be a better descriptor.

  3. ConnieDee

    March 31, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    I hate headline-speak, and in this case even when it’s actually a headline. It should be that they handled THE most bags. Interesting how the English direct article here completely changes the meaning.

    “American Airlines and their regional subsidiary, Envoy Air, mishandled the most luggage throughout the year.”

    Well, they got a laugh out of me and my click (although I’ve got ads blocked so no benefit.)

  4. wizozzie

    April 3, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    On the last 30 flights that I have flown on American since Jan 2020 (it’s April 2021 at this comment), I’ve had 4 flights where a bag was damaged or outright lost. That is an absolutely terrible record.

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