Mishandled Bags, Oversales Increased in 2022


Revised data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows more passengers had their luggage mishandled, or were unable to board their flight, in 2022 compared to the prior year.


American Led in Mishandled Baggage; Frontier Tops Involuntarily Denied Boarding

With the COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end, more flyers were eager to get back to the airport and visit their favorite destinations once more. However, data from the Transportation Department’s Air Travel Consumer Report suggests the aviation industry was not necessarily prepared for the rush.


Overall, mishandled baggage increased to 0.64 bags per 100 enplaned in 2022, up from 0.51. American Airlines mishandled the most luggage, with 0.88 per 100 enplaned across their network. If you were flying on an American mainline flight, your risk increased to nearly one bag mishandled per 100. Fellow Oneworld member Alaska Airlines came in second, with 0.72 mishandled bags across their network per 100 loaded, while JetBlue came in third.


The low-cost carriers were the best at getting luggage to its final destination in 2022. Leading the way was Allegiant Air, which mishandled just over 10,000 bags of the 6 million loaded onto aircraft. Frontier Airlines came in third overall, while Spirit Airlines was fourth.


Although Frontier did a great job of handling luggage, the same cannot be said about overbooking flights. The Denver-based airline involuntarily denied 2.66 passengers per 10,000, putting them at the bottom of the list in 2022. Southwest Airlines – which experienced a major meltdown at the beginning of 2023 – came in second with 0.56 passengers involuntarily denied boarding per 10,000 boarded. American was also in the bottom three for involuntary denials, with 0.46 passengers turned away at the gate per 10,000 across their network.


Delta Air Lines, Allegiant, and Hawaiian Airlines were able to accommodate the most passengers across 2022. While Allegiant had zero involuntary denials, Delta and Hawaiian collectively involuntarily denied six passengers.


Airline Complaints Skyrocket in 2022

With more issues across carriers, consumer complaints to the Transportation Department significantly increased. Flyers issued a total of 16,876 complaints to the agency in 2022, an increase of nearly 400% compared to 2021. Carriers based in the U.S. received the most complaints, with 13,912 filed. Only 2,452 complaints were levied against foreign carriers.

Source: frugal travel guy

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