Mishandled baggage falls

Mishandled baggage fell for the
second year running, according to a new report.

The document, released by SITA, specialists
in air transportation communications, said that 2009 showed a 23.8 per cent improvement
over 2008.

A mishandled bag is defined as a
report of baggage that is delayed, damaged or stolen. Stats are recorded either
by airlines, handling companies or individual passengers as a claim.

There were 2.2 billion passengers
and a total of 25,025 mishandled bags, a ratio of 11.375 mishandled bags per
1,000 passengers. The total cost of this to the Air Transport Industry was
$2.04 billion

SITA’s report said that three main
factors had contributed to the improvement of results. Improvements in baggage
handling systems had become necessary due to airlines and airports seeking to
implement better baggage management, and fewer people checked in their bags to
try and avoid check-in fees.

Less people

There were also simply fewer people
travelling during 2009. The report was careful to note that the decline in
passenger numbers was 2.9 per cent while the decline in mishandled baggage was calculated
at 24 per cent.

Prior to the fall in mishandled
baggage during 2009 and 2008, instances of mishandling actually rose for the
previous five years.

According to SITA’s Airline IT
Trends Survey, by the year 2012 some 63 per cent of airlines said they would
implement self-service tag printing for bags. Forty-one per cent of respondents
said they would use kiosks to report lost baggage and 36 per cent intended to
offer unassisted bag drop locations. There is also an intended trend toward
mobile technology which would allow travellers to track their bags.

There were 0.4 bags that were lost
or stolen during 2009 per 1,000 passengers. This came to under 1 million in
total for 2 billion passengers.


Checked baggage charges are now the
main additional source of revenue for aircraft operations, said the report,
generating more revenue than options including reserving specific seats and
priority boarding.

Delta Airlines anticipates revenues
of $82 million yearly from its new $41 fee for checking a second bag on
international flights. Other international carriers including Continental and
US Airways have followed suit.

Other airlines pursue a different
strategy; Southwest does not charge for first or second bags and their Chief
Executive Officer Gary Kelly said the potential revenue from charging baggage
fees was 5 per cent.

“It’s not a reach to say we are
getting that much more from not charging,” he said.

In Europe, low-cost carrier Ryanair
is considering moving away from check-in luggage entirely, instead allowing
passengers to take as much carry-on luggage as they liked.

Worst year

The SITA report concluded that while
one of the worst financial years in the Air Transport Industry is now over,
there are challenges to face. It identified baggage management as a key area
where the industry could save money, enhance its reputation and boost
passengers’ experience.

“One of the key enablers in
facilitating these improvements is technology – from new self-service options
for baggage drop-off and reporting lost bags to mobility services, which will
help passengers keep tabs on their bags and better control their entire

“Given the industry’s challenging
financial situation, it’s more important than ever that the ATI collaborates to
develop comprehensive, integrated baggage-management systems that benefit all
industry stakeholders,” it said.

National carrier Cayman Airways
allows two pieces of checked baggage and one carry-on bag on its economy class
flights for free, subject to size and weight restrictions. Business class
passengers can check in three bags. Infants younger than two can have one small
carry-on bag.

On Twin Otter flights
between Cayman, Little Cayman and the Brac allowances
for free baggage is 55 pounds per person and only one 15 pound carry-on bag.
Cayman Airways also accepts boxes instead of free checked bags, subject to suitable
packaging considerations.


  1. Bah hah…. just last night my wife and one year old son came via Cayman Airways to GCM. She arrived and found that her one bag was left in Miami. Our son has no clothes, milk, medicine, etc. Quite frustrating and even more so is to read this article on the newspaper.

  2. just to comment on this, if your wife started out with another carrier prior to CAL, and your bags did not arrive with her, its not CAL fault its the first carriers responsibilty to tranfer the bags to CAL. so if they didnt arrive then it means that they simply did not transfer them in time to connect with CAL’S flight to GCM.

  3. I have had 3 bad baggage problems with cayman airways.
    One time I was gone to Jamaica just for 1 night to see some family, and return my step son. My bags did not come on the plane, in fact nobodys did except for Mr. Tibbits. The bag didnt get to the airport till the next morning, the same plane I was leaving out on.
    And just recently, we flew CAL to Tampa then another carrier from tampa to LA. My husband was one of the first to check in. His bag did not make it with him, and we did not get it till 5 days later when we were leaving LA. Wasnt this great. My clothes happend to be in his suitcase, because I was meeting him in LA from Canada. He packed the dress for my birthday in his luggage. Well I had nothing to wear to go for dinner for my birthday in LA. My husband had absolutly no clothes, we had to go to Target and get things. He didnt need new underwear, belt, shoes… he had packed it all, so now we had to spend money on these items.
    For the amount of complaints I hear about and have gone through myself with CAL, I really wonder if they are part of this survey.

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