Circumstances of misplaced and delayed baggage are skyrocketing as vacationers face unprecedented woes at airports throughout North America and Europe, based on a brand new federal report.
This so-called ‘airmageddon’ has been constructing for months: in April, almost 220,000 checked baggage amongst U.S. airways had been misplaced, broken, delayed or ripped, a staggering 135% improve from the identical interval in 2021, based on the latest U.S. Division of Transportation Air Journey Shopper Report launched in June.
American Airways led the pack with the very best chance of mishandling buyer baggage, with almost 70,000 circumstances in April 2022 in contrast with about 37,000 in April 2021. Alaska, Jet Blue, Delta and United, in that order, had the following highest charges of mishandled baggage.
American has topped the checklist for 2 years in a row, whereas Delta, United and Alaska all acquired worse, pushing Spirit out of the highest 5 in April 2022.
Baggage complaints made by customers towards U.S. and overseas airways ballooned much more — by 619% over the previous 12 months.
Practically 220,000 checked baggage had been misplaced, broken, delayed or ripped in April 2022. A 135% improve from the identical time interval in 2021.Picture by Nathan Papes/Springfield Information-Chief / USA At present Community/Sipa USA
Complete shopper complaints about airways leaped 147%, the report mentioned
Compounding the issues is what passengers describe as dreadful customer support from airways about what is going on to all of the misplaced and broken baggage.
“The most important factor that’s so discouraging and kind of traumatizing is simply the utter lack of regard and communication for customers,” Kartik Akileswaran, whose baggage have been lacking for over every week, informed The Submit.
Akileswaran, 37, and his spouse Uthara Ganesh, 33, who’re initially from the US, flew greater than 4,000 miles from their present residence in New Delhi, India, to Paris, France, to attend a good friend’s wedding ceremony.
Once they landed, they waited so lengthy for his or her baggage that they missed the marriage, leaving them “fully distraught.”
Chris Wooden, a retiree in her mid-70s residing in Scotland, misplaced her baggage on a return flight from Montreal to Edinburgh late final week.
Wooden mentioned she and her husband spent seven days calling, emailing and tweeting the airport and airline “with out reply.” They solely acquired their baggage after a stranger discovered their bag deserted within the airport, and contacted Wooden’s husband through an e-mail tackle on the bag’s ID tag.
Complaints associated to baggage about home and overseas airways elevated 619% over the previous 12 months.REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Wooden referred to as the expertise “a nightmare,” which she attributed to “actually poor communication” between airways, airports, and vacationers. “Buyer relations had been actually poor, buyer care was non-existent,” she mentioned.
Final week, Louis Quinones, 50, flew from Tampa, Florida, to Berlin, Germany, with a suitcase full of drugs, electronics and household heirlooms which has since been misplaced.
For over every week, he’s been navigating what he described as a “desert of customer support” with “no human contact.”
“Not solely they haven’t discovered it, however [there’s] no communication in anyway,” he mentioned. “Nobody has referred to as me to ease my discomfort.”
Consultants have attributed the journey chaos to staffing shortages and labor strikes. Delta Airways pilots final week picketed outdoors airports throughout the U.S. for larger wages and extra break day. Airline staff in France, Spain, Sweden and Denmark are at present hanging for elevated pay, and British Airways on Thursday narrowly prevented an impending strike.
Ganesh and Akileswaran mentioned they had been sympathetic to the hanging staff, however had been nonetheless disheartened by the whole lack of communication. The airline’s voicemail was full throughout one latest name, Akileswaran mentioned.
“It’s a black gap at this level,” mentioned Ganesh, 33, a tech government who flies often and mentioned she’s by no means skilled something like this.“Truthfully, it looks as if it’s the worst time in historical past.”
A spokesperson for Berlin Brandenburg airport mentioned, “On the main hubs there are at present delays in baggage dealing with resulting from staffing issues. … As a result of staffing scenario on the airports there, the bags can‘t be unloaded, sorted and reloaded within the subsequent aircraft in time.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and airports in Tampa, Edinburgh, Brussels and Toronto directed The Submit to airways and contracted floor dealing with firms. SriLankan Airways, Lufthansa and AirFrance didn’t reply to requests for remark.
With Submit wires