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Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?  
User currently offlineA340pilot From Canada, joined Sep 2003, 576 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3504 times:

I have always wondered about this, Do airlines actually lose your luggage or is it just misplaced? The only time I had a problem with luggage was with Westjet, But 5 hours later they showed up at my door with the luggage! Has Anyone ever "LOST" pemenantly your luggage? How is Luggage lost? Are there not barcode tags as to which plane it goes on?


Best regards,
a340pilot



PS-Westjet, even though the luggage arrived only 5 hours late (not a big deal) they insisted they made a mistake and gave me 50.00 off my next flight! Very good customer service!


Go! Canucks Go!
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDodgecharger From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 210 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3474 times:

Majority of luggage is never completely lost. It is just misloaded.

Usually whenever a passenger comes to our ticket counter and says their luggage is "lost", 99% of the time it arrives sometime within the next 24 hours. Almost half the time it arrives on the very next flight.



User currently offlineRongotai From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 477 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3463 times:

Misplacing often takes place at transfers, and especially after a schedule disruption with a rerouting or flight change involved

User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3420 times:

I have always wondered about this, Do airlines actually lose your luggage or is it just misplaced? The only time I had a problem with luggage was with Westjet, But 5 hours later they showed up at my door with the luggage! Has Anyone ever "LOST" pemenantly your luggage? How is Luggage lost? Are there not barcode tags as to which plane it goes on?

There are barcode tags on all WS bag tags now I believe, however they are not used to tell which plane they go on at all. In several stations I've been to, the barcode is only used for the sorting system in the airport terminal's bag-belts. It runs through a laser-scanner not unlike the item check at a supermarket, and a "kicker" boots it onto a belt feeding the appropriate baggage carousel. In the case of WestJet, I can imagine that at any given station all their flights are put onto one baggage sorting carousel, and the actual sorting is done by hand.

The bag sorting method I've always seen is based on a bag carousel almost exactly the same as the collection carousels that you see in any arrivals hall. All of the sorting is done by hand - guys pick bags that come off the carousel and then load them in the bag cart or ULD with that flight and destination. The loading crew at the flight is supposed to check all bag tags they load, but they're often trying to load 150+ bags in 10 minutes or sometimes less, so as you can imagine it doesn't always happen. The process I've seen - and is used all across WestJet's system - is entirely reliant on people reading tags correctly. As you can imagine, there's a lot of room for human error.

Implimenting bag-tag scanners to scan every bag, while effective and could improve security issues like positive bag-match, would definately slow down the process of loading bags.... not a great feature in a time-sensitive industry. Really, the best that any company can do is to train its guys and drill them on reading bag tags. Experience and training is everything.

In my experience, loading crews who have years of time on the ramp loading flights make these mistakes of misloading bags a lot less. For example, I can only recall once at CP where I encountered a misloaded bag when offloading - because most of the guys working the CP ramp in, say, YYZ or YVR were 10+ years of experience. You have to understand that many of the folks working as ground handlers for airlines like WestJet often don't work for WestJet at all but work for contracting companies like WorldWide or Airport Terminal Services, and for the most part they're quite young (most are only in their late teens or early twenties) and have little experience on the ramp. They often don't stay long because the pay is fairly low as well, so turnover is high - and thus the problem is perpetual.

As well, if you're connecting, bags do get missed if the connection is within a limited space of time. It's compounded if the upline station misloaded the bags or misread the tags while loading -- see above. The problem is compounded by human errors...... but again, most of the issues with missed or late bags are a result of human error.

[Edited 2004-01-13 21:14:30]


"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineScottysAir From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3381 times:

It is going back in Apr. 1998

Let me explain to you about my bags and before was took on the wrong flight and exactly when I was flew on Southwest Airlines on their way to JAX and with my 1-stop in TPA. And the bag was not there with the baggage claim and they took with the wrong plane and it was waiting for my bag at the baggage office and it was everything is fine.

July 1, 2001 flew to PHX

This is check-in with my ours bag on their way to PHX and connecting to CVG flight. They took with my bag to ATL and it was make mistake with the flight to ATL. When we were there in PHX and it was right near at the baggage office and got them with these 2 bags for us. The Ramp agent did took with the ATL flight and it was mistake in FLL. Which one did not get any pay attention which one of the city code. I was reported to my friend Darlene at FLL and told her about what is happening of ours bag. This is exactly I still remember about of them before and didn't not make lost with the bag either.


User currently offlineVenezuela747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1429 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3325 times:

I believe they are msiplaced in the first place, and then if tehy can't find them they just got lost. So one leads to another


ROLL TIDE!!!
User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3320 times:

Or they can just conveniently (for them, at least) forget your luggage, as is what happened to me on my latest flight. They simply left my suitcase at HPN, and it was still on its way to DTW when I arrived at my final destination, CLE.

ARGH!



Up, up and away!
User currently offlineRamprat74 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1546 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3295 times:

Most of the time it is human error. I'm surprise how we do it. Lets say you are connecting in ORD. UA has about 75 planes on the ground at once. The airline only sends out a few people to pick up the bags from your arriving flight and has to transfer them to each of their connecting flight. This could be 10-15 different destinations. That person has only a certin amount of time to deliver those bags. The airlines want to keep reduces connection times at hubs. Its a long drive from C21 to F16 in ORD.

When I'm working the pit. I look at every bag before I stack it. Like Goose said. Most don't do this. They rely on their fellow employee to load the bag in the right cart in the bagroom or transfer cart. You have anywhere from 3000-6000 bags that are handled within a hour at ORD. We misplace about 6 per 1000 of those. I think that is really good in my book.

UA is using all handheld computers now to track the bags. Its kinda like tracking a package at Fedex. The baggage service employee can find out where the bag was scanned last.

We are doing our best. This is all airlines and not just UA.


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3269 times:

Bags can be misplaced or "lost" in these manners:

1. Bag is misloaded unto the wrong flight. Supposedly, this should not be happening anymore with positive bag matching.

2. Bag misses the flight. A bag could not get loaded because:
a.) Was late arriving to the gate.
b.) Aircraft had reached bag max.
c.) Cargo bins all filled and no more bags could be loaded.
d.) The bag label/tag has fallen off.
e.) Bag fell out of baggage cart. A strange twist on this one was a story that came out a few years back about finding a number of lost bags in the water by LCY that had fallen out of bag carts.
f.) Transfer driver drops the bag in the transfer point when it needed to be taken to the gate.
g.) Bag(s) were not picked up from the transfer point.


User currently offlineAaway From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1560 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3247 times:

"I have always wondered about this, Do airlines actually lose your luggage or is it just misplaced? "
Having worked extensively with baggage issues, the answer is YES to getting lost and YES to being misplaced. It's unfortunate that with the level of automation now utilized in this industry that baggage handling still primarily consists of human interaction. Here at LAX, whereby LAX is the connecting point, I've seen bags that had hours between flights get set to the side and forgotten. Bags get delivered to the wrong carrier, and that carrier doesn't send the bag(s) back. Baggage that should have been downloaded to baggage claim go elsewhere. And, it would be an oversight to mention that pilferage is very common. The tact nowadays is to take the entire bag, if necessary.

"Has Anyone ever "LOST" pemenantly your luggage? How is Luggage lost? Are there not barcode tags as to which plane it goes on?"
Never in my case, but there is a company in the state of Alabama that serves as a clearinghouse for unclaimed baggage. Typically, airlines will hold unclaimed baggage for 60-90 days. This company (and there probably more like it) will buy the baggage and it's contents for a nominal amount. Of course, the company will turn those contents into profits later.
As I mentioned, baggage handling involves manual labor primarily. The barcoding and automation occurs typically in the span from the ticket counter to the baggage staging area (bagroom). Optical readers are used in the most sophisticated systems to route baggage to the correct sortation pier inside the bagroom. However, these readers tend to be somewhat sensitive to minute amounts of dirt/dust. Or, perhaps the reader just can't quite make out the barcode because of bad placement on the bag. Catch my drift??? With these scenarios, human intervention is required. Human intervention is also needed at the end phase of the entire process...loading/unloading the aircraft.
Perhaps the most intriguing innovation for baggage tracking is RFID (Radio frequency identification). There have been some experiments with this technology that have produced promising results. Simply stated, a very small transmitter is implanted into bag tags (not sure of the wavelength, though). With this process, baggage can be tracked throughout the handling process.




With a choice between changing one's mind & proving there's no need to do so, most everyone gets busy on the proof.
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2614 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3201 times:

What is the surest way to never lose a checked bag? Put Your name and address on the inside of the bag. I know Delta has a policy about misplaced bags. I think each station has 24 hours to find the owner of a bag, then all misplaced bags get sent to ATL. In ATL they are sorted by color, and a group of employees goes through the lost bag reports and attempts to match them up. After a bag has been in ATL for a week, they open the bag. If your name is in the bag, bingo. Frequently the tags on the outside are torn off. So having the info on the inside also is a good last resort. After three months of searching it gets sold to www.unclaimedbaggage.com.

User currently offlineNudelhirsch From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 1438 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3189 times:

My experience:
DEN to FRA via ORD...

AA plane, delay in DEN due to wind, no landing in ORD due to T-storms, deviated to Madison, WI, then new flight to ORD, after some hours of the captain negotiating about fuel, then ORD to LHR on BA, then BMI LHR to FRA...
at each apt we had like 3 hrs to wait...

then in FRA, one of our bags was lost. we went to the bagagge guy, he scanned the barcode and stated, our was in LHR, plane too heavy, they would fly it into STR and deliver it to our house the next day...what happened...good to have computers around...



Putana da Seatbeltz!
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3142 times:

In ATL they are sorted by color

Let me guess, one pile for black bags, another for all other colors.

I spend the last month I worked @ FL in the transfer point, and we would get calls everyday from outstations looking for bags and 9 times out of 10 they were looking for a black #whatever (each type and style of bag has a number and sometimes letter code). That is why people need to put some type of mark (that will not come off) on the bag to identify it in case it gets lost.


User currently offlineAa61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 13, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3093 times:

I have not had trouble quite yet, except for AA DFW-EWR, the misplaced my bag, on a direct flight..? Got it that night..

My dad has flown through CDG about 10 times, everytime on AA. 9 out of the 10 times he flew through there his bag was misplaced. And eventually given to him a few days later..



Go big or go home
User currently offlineAlekToronto From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3075 times:

Well one of my latest experiences might illustrate why INTERNATIONAL baggage gets misrouted. I was flying KLM YYZ-AMS-PRG late last year and I when I was checking in the check in girl (about 19 or 20 yrs old) gave me boarding cards for PRG but I happened to notice that she stuck BUD (Budapest) tags on my suitcase. I pointed this out and she kinda went "oh" and went on to retag them to PRG.
So that makes me wonder how many times this happens?
When my father travelled AF once they sent his bags to JNB when he was travelling to JFK - probably same mistake..

Alek


User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3026 times:

From my experience with the industry, a lost bag goes through a very interesting process:

1) The bag is misplaced.
a. It is loaded onto the wrong outgoing baggage cart (this happens if the airport does not have automatic baggage sorters).
b. The bag doesn't make it to the aircraft in time (this is usually the fault of the passenger, who showed up late for the flight).
c. The bag is mis-transferred and no one sees it.
d. The bag goes to the transfer point instead of directly to the gate.
e. The tag falls off.
f. The bag cannot go on the aircraft for whatever reason.
2) The bag is found at the wrong station and re-routed to its proper destination.
2a) If the bag is found without the tag, it is placed in storage for one to three days.
2b) An outstation that is missing a bag sends a message to other stations describing the bag. If that description matches a bag some other station has, it forwards that bag to the one that originated the message.
3) If the bag is not identified and recovered after one to three days, it is sent to a central baggage facility (usually at one of the hubs), where it is stored for up to a year, waiting for someone to claim it.
4) If the item (bag, computer, whatever) is not claimed after a year, it is usually disposed of.

Some airlines hold on to bags for extensive periods of time, as Mike Wallace (of CBS News) found out when his bag was returned to him fifteen years later, as he described once on Sixty Minutes.

Or was it Andy Rooney?



Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineTekelberry From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1459 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3021 times:

Implimenting bag-tag scanners to scan every bag, while effective and could improve security issues like positive bag-match, would definately slow down the process of loading bags.... not a great feature in a time-sensitive industry. Really, the best that any company can do is to train its guys and drill them on reading bag tags. Experience and training is everything.

Denver's baggage system is fully automated with very minimal human interaction due to computerized barcode scanners. It's faster than human sorting.

[Edited 2004-01-14 05:14:58]

User currently offlineAIR757200 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2986 times:


Its all statistics ... each airline has an average per 1,000.. I sometimes tell the crabby passengers that they are a statistic and the bag will be on the next flight (when we know its a misload).  Smile


User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5109 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2979 times:

We have a list of codes used for different reason bags are delayed.

Sometimes a bag was tagged incorrectly, for the wrong flight or destination..
Sometimes there is a problem at loading, and the bag is loaded on wrong flight, or doesn't get loaded at all..
Sometimes the bag doesnt get through security screening in time to make the flight.
And on of the biggest problems we have in the caribbean, is that bags are left at origin due to weight restrictions. Caribbean people travel heavy. SO the aircraft just cannot take that kind of load on such a long flight, so bags get left behind and fowarded on the next available service to the destination..

Now in the cases mentioned above, the bags that are onhand at a station are put into the system, and the station tha tis missing the bag puts the missing bag report in the system, the two match and voila. you get a response, and you request the onhand bag to forwarded on a specific flight. Now all this works great if stations use the baggage system.. For some it is BMAS and others or most it is WorldTracer..

But there are times, Ladies and Gentlemen, when a bag seems to have dissappeared of the face of the planet. No stations seems to have it, and we just cannot find the bag. In that case it is lost, and after a period of time, it would be recommended to the pax to file a claim fof the bag.

Any further questons on Baggage Tracing.. email me.. dc9super80@hotmail.com.

It is my fav part of my job..



There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2953 times:

Denver's baggage system is fully automated with very minimal human interaction due to computerized barcode scanners. It's faster than human sorting.

But it's expensive. And that's why airports I'm familiar with will never put them in.....

I have no doubt it's more efficient - but probably not perfect - as compared to human sorting. However, with the airlines I've worked for, human sorting has been the only means of sorting bags available.... so training is key.

In my experience, the belt systems put in by the Airport Authorities in Canada are built by the lowest bidder, and are of dubious quality and reliability....



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2945 times:

I remember one time at FL in MCI, we had a bag that never showed up. For three days, we kept calling ATL and sending messages looking for the bag.

Finally, I was talking to the gentleman (who had come in just to see--thankfully he lived near the airport) and saw that his routing had been on DL to ATL, then FL to MCI... I called DL baggage in ATL, and they told me there was a bag on file but that it had been sent to MCI--to DL!

I called the DL bag office at MCI, and lo and behold! They had been waiting for us to come pick it up!

How's that for screwy?

DL ended up oweing us $150 for passenger lost baggage compensation!



Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5309 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2920 times:

Another problem is the gate change. An airline may send out to the gate baggage for passengers that have checked in somewhat early.

Then, there is a gate change. For whatever reason, the bags sitting on the tarmac at the orginal gate are not taken to the new departure gate and are loaded onto the next plane that comes in.

In 1998, I was flying AA from ORD to BOS, connecting with Business Express for YHZ. AA made it into the gate early, by about 5 minutes. But for what ever reason, the bags didn't make it to the BEX flight.

The bags made the next BEX flight, which got in about 3 hours later, and they were driven out that evening to our hotel in Port Hastings, which was about 3 hours from the airport.



User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2918 times:

Ckfred:

A gate change should never be reason for bags missing their flight. If it is, then someone should be reprimanded or fired.

At NJ, the gate lead at the gate where the arcraft was supposed to come in was responsible for moving bags in the event of a gate change. That meant they either had to drive them over themselves or find a transfer driver to do it. Either way, if those bags missed, there was Hell to pay.

I realize we only had between 6 and 8 gates at MCI during my tenure with NJ, but it should work no matter how big the airline is, especially if you split the ramp into zones (as we were going to do when we moved within Terminal A to a new twelve gate area, which never happened due to the bankruptcy).



Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineRamprat74 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1546 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2913 times:

Denver's baggage system is fully automated with very minimal human interaction due to computerized barcode scanners. It's faster than human sorting.

This is a joke right  Yeah sure

I worked at DIA the first day it opened. The bag system hasn't worked right since day one. Only UA uses the baggage system for outbound bags only. They had to shut down the system for A&C just to make the system work for UA's B concourse. Every airlines except UA, AC and UX use tug and cart from the old parking garage on the lower level.

The week the inbound system was working in 1995. It worked nice.  Smile


User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1524 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2907 times:

In connection with baggage loss issues, I have an interesting observation which I would like to share. I learnt of this during a seminar in FRA where we came upon the subject of maximum number of pilferage cases on the LH network.

Apparently German law requires large organizations to have a system whereby juvenile delinquents (underage criminals in plain lingo) should be given an opportunity to work in their set up with a view to rehabilitate them and bring them back into the mainstream.

One of the organizations which is part of this program is FRA Airports Authority who have employed a number of these youngsters in baggage handling functions. While the idea may be extremely humanitarian in terms of rehabilitating wayward youngsters, there is very little in the form of security or control to stop these kids from succumbing to temptation, cutting up the odd bag which catches their fancy and filching the contents. I was given to understand that their preferred flights were those heading for Spain, Japan and India.

This was about six years ago. I do not know if the situation has improved in the meantime.

rgds//Vimanav

I do not know if



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
25 APAOps5 : To the best of my knowledge some bags don't make the flight in wake of weight restrictions. A heavily loaded plane on a hot day (density altitude) at
26 Post contains images FredT : We had both manual (for the smaller aircraft, F50, SF34 etc) and fully automatic sorting. With the automatic sorting, we were required to check the ta
27 GlobeTrekker : AlekToronto- What you explained above is quite common with KLM and other airlines. I don't know for other airlines, but the problem with KLM is the ch
28 Post contains images Goose : In ATL they are sorted by color Let me guess, one pile for black bags, another for all other colors. Hah! Sucks when the gate agent calls down to the
29 UPSfueler : Like Ramp Rat74 said at ORD we are really short handed noa a days with the shape our airline is in. We are working with minimal staff and the company
30 MAS A330 : Lose or misplace, call it what you want, i better get it back.
31 EZYcrew : It also depends how rude you've been to the check in agent. A few years ago I did checkin for SR in GVA (I was a grounded f/a for ears problems for a
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