The number of mishandled bags at airports has risen to 7.6 bags per thousand passengers in 2022, according to SITA’s 2023 Baggage IT Insights report. The figure represents a year-on-year increase of 74.7 per cent, from 4.4 bags per thousand passengers in 2021.
The number of mishandled bags in 2022 is also higher than pre-pandemic figures – in 2019, just 5.6 bags were mishandled per thousand passengers.
Delayed bags accounted for four fifths (80 per cent) of all mishandled bags in 2022, while the remainder was made up of damaged, lost or stolen baggage.
“Transfer bags have historically accounted for the majority of mishandled bags. This was no different in 2022, with a one percentage point increase from 2021, pushing the proportion of bags delayed at transfer to 42 per cent,” SITA stated.
The information technology company added: “The failure to load bags accounted for 18 per cent of all mishandled bags in 2022, representing a three per cent decrease from the previous year. [However], loading errors more than doubled compared to the previous year, accounting for nine per cent of all delayed bags in 2022.”
Staff shortages and travel surges
SITA credited a shortage of skilled staff, the resumption of international travel after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, and congestion at airports.
Historically, the number of bags being mishandled has reduced significantly over the past decade, with SITA noting that the mishandling rate per thousand passengers fell by 59.7 per cent between 2007 and 2021.
“After a decade where the mishandling rate more than halved … it is disheartening to see this rate climbing again,” said David Lavorel, CEO of SITA. “As an industry, we need to work hard to ensure passengers are once again confident to check in their bags. We at SITA are working directly with airlines and airports to help solve key pain points in the baggage journey through smart automation, tracking, and digital platforms.”
Airport issues, including baggage loss, are a key concern for travellers this year, according to a recent survey from InsureMyTrip.