Having an airline lose your luggage can be a nightmarish experience. Unfortunately, it’s a problem for both major and regional airlines.
So, as you plan your next vacation, in addition to detailing a solid itinerary and booking with the best travel credit cards, it’s also wise to check out your airline’s record when it comes to mishandled bags.
From worst to best, here are how 17 U.S. airlines fare when it comes to mishandled baggage.
17. American Airlines
American Airlines had the highest average of mishandled bags in 2022, according to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics report. In this case, mishandled means lost, damaged, delayed, and stolen from (as reported by airline customers).
From January to December, American mishandled a whopping 633,843 bags out of a total of 67,091,578 that were put on their planes. That amounts to around .94 mishandled bags per 100.
While the number of baggage issues may seem alarming, American is the largest airline in the world, so the opportunity for the occasional lost bag is high.
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16. Republic Airways
Republic Airways, a regional airline based in Indianapolis, took second place when it comes to the most mishandled baggage.
Out of 8,644,672 bags that were put onto their planes throughout 2022, 74,734 were mishandled by the airline. That comes out to about .86 mishandled bags for every 100.
15. Envoy Air
Envoy Air, which is a subsidiary of the American Airlines Group, was originally called American Eagle Airlines and is headquartered in Irving, Texas.
It took third place on the “worst of” list with 76,205 mishandled out of a total of 9,199,711 put onto planes in 2022. That translates to around .83 mishandled bags for every 100.
14. Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines grew from a regional company to one of the largest airlines in the U.S. Like some of the other major players on this list, it had some trouble getting bags where they needed to be last year.
Alaska landed in the No. 4 spot, mishandling a total of 156,561 bags out of 20,738,655 put onto its planes in 2022. That’s about .75 mishandled bags per 100.
13. Mesa Airlines
Mesa Airlines, which was founded in the 1980s in New Mexico, rounded out the bottom five when it came to baggage issues.
The southwest regional airline mishandled 35,424 out of a total of 5,136,738 bags that were put onto their planes in 2022, putting their average at around .69 mishandled bags per 100.
12. PSA Airlines
PSA Airlines, a regional company headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, also had its fair share of baggage issues in 2022.
The airline mishandled 76,508 bags out of a total of 11,270,720 that were put onto its planes throughout the year. PSA’s average comes out to about .68 mishandled bags per 100.
11. JetBlue Airways
JetBlue, another one of the largest airlines currently operating in the U.S., had some significant baggage issues throughout 2022 as well.
The airline mishandled 104,132 bags out of a total of 15,350,805 put onto planes throughout the year. It tied PSA’s average with around .68 mishandled bags per 100.
Pro tip: Use the top travel credit cards when booking trips to enjoy perks like priority boarding. This way, if you’re traveling light anyway, you may not have to check a bag at all.
10. United Airlines
Another major player, but not immune to baggage issues, United Airlines fell toward the middle when it came to bag mishandling averages. United is the second largest airline in the U.S., which presents plenty of opportunities for checked bags to lose their way.
The airline mishandled a total of 320,596 bags out of 49,459,806 that were put onto their planes in 2022, for an average of around .65 misplaced bags for every 100.
9. Horizon Air
Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group headquartered in the Northwest, was right smack in the middle when it came to its baggage handling averages for 2022. It also handled significantly fewer bags than every other airline on the list.
Horizon mishandled a total of 27,846 bags out of 4,371,724 that were put onto its planes, for an average of about .64 mishandled bags per 100.
8. SkyWest Airlines
SkyWest is headquartered in Utah and operates through partnerships with major players like United, Delta, American, and Alaska.
SkyWest had one of the better records, with a total of 160,894 bags mishandled out of 28,805,305 that were put onto its planes. This averages out to about .56 mishandled bags per 100.
7. Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, the second largest in the world (behind only American, according to 2022 numbers), had one of the best records out of the major players on the list.
The airline mishandled 410,361 bags out of a total of 74,402,459 that were put onto its planes, for an average of .55 mishandled bags for every 100.
6. Southwest Airlines
For an airline that allows each passenger to check two bags for free on every flight, Southwest has a surprisingly low mishandling average.
In total, Southwest had issues with 655,053 bags out of a total of 121,394,275. This was also, by far, the largest number of bags that any airline on the list handled. Southwest’s average comes out to about .54 mishandled bags for every 100.
5. Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines, one of the major players in the budget airline industry (though not known for being particularly reliable), had one of the top five best records when it came to handling baggage. However, the number of bags the airline handled was on the lower end, likely because when people fly budget, they’re not opting to pay for a checked bag.
Out of a total of 12,976,167 checked bags throughout 2022, Spirit reported issues with 64,831 of them, putting their average at .50 mishandled bags per every 100.
4. Endeavor Air
Endeavor Air, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines headquartered in Minneapolis, had the fourth best record when it comes to handling bags.
Endeavor mishandled a total of 45,049 bags throughout 2022 out of the 9,030,888 placed on its planes, putting the airline’s average at .50 misplaced bags per 100 (tied with Spirit).
3. Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines, another giant in the budget travel realm, had one of the best records when it comes to handling baggage, landing itself in the top three.
Frontier mishandled a total of 41,499 bags out of 9,852,249 that were checked throughout 2022. The airline’s average comes out to about .42 mishandled bags per 100. Like Spirit, though, Frontier’s great track record when it comes to handling bags may be due to the lower percentage of passengers checking them.
2. Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines landed the No. 2 spot for handling baggage. The airline flies throughout the Hawaiian Islands, as well as to destinations across the U.S., Asia, Australia, and Polynesia.
In 2022, it mishandled a total of 23,435 bags out of 6,192,423 that were put onto its planes, putting its average at about .38 mishandled bags for every 100.
1. Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air, another giant in the budget travel space with headquarters in Las Vegas, managed to nab the No. 1 spot when it comes to handling baggage.
The airline offers travel from smaller, regional airports to hot spots like Vegas, Phoenix, and many destinations in Florida.
Allegiant mishandled a total of 10,295 bags in 2022 out of 6,621,329 put on its planes. Its average was significantly better than every other airline, with just .16 bags mishandled out of every 100.
While lost or damaged luggage can really throw a wrench into your vacation plans, it’s worth noting that every airline listed here (even American) mishandled fewer than 1 per 100 bags they dealt with in 2022.
Plus, budget airlines did surprisingly well when handling baggage — a nice perk for anyone hoping to spend less on vacation or worried about having to make extra money to travel.
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