Don’t Check a Bag On This Airline: The Worst Airlines For Lost Luggage

Checking a bag? Whether you are voluntarily or you’re forced to at the gate, hopefully you’re not flying Envoy Air or ExpressJet Airlines, as they placed last in a study of luggage handling. did an analysis of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Mishandled Baggage reports from 2012 through April 2018, and found that Delta, Spirit, and JetBlue were the least likely to lose your luggage.


Overall, luggage handling has improved since 2012, with lost bags reports decreasing by 27 percent overall. Still, LugaggeHero predicts that more than 500,000 pieces of luggage will be lost, misdirected, or damaged on U.S. domestic flights this year.

If you are one of the unlucky fliers whose bag goes missing, here’s what to do:

  • Report it to the airline. Many airlines have a desk in the baggage claim area where you can file a claim, otherwise, call them.
  • If your bag is damaged take photos/videos as soon as possible.
  • Check the DOT’s guidelines for lost, delayed, and damaged baggage to see what compensation you are entitled to.
  • If you bought your flight on a credit card, check to see if they offer any coverage for lost or damaged bags.

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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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