9:45 AM

A mark that U.S. carriers would
rather you didn’t know about


U.S. airlines last year lost about 10,000 bags a day on average, the worst performance since 1990, reports USA Today. The rate of lost suitcase reports soared 23% in 2005, according to U.S. Department of Transportation numbers. Reasons cited include a surge in the number of passengers, airline budget cuts, backed-up flights and tighter inspections of luggage.

Here’s how a few of the Bigs fared in this report:

US Airways, which exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, had the highest lost-bag rate of major carriers, while Southwest Airlines' rate of lost bags jumped nearly 27%. Southwest blames the airline's cranky new bag systems in Baltimore, Las Vegas and Phoenix. And Delta Air Lines, third-biggest airline, lost more bags than any other carrier. Its customers filed 573,419 lost bag reports.
Maybe this is why the overhead bins of every commercial flight I catch are stuffed to the breaking point with carry-ons that appear far larger than the airlines normally allow.

I have a suggestion for the airlines on how to find all those lost bags: Before anyone panics, just look where all the lost socks go…that strange, otherworldly place where things go when they vaporize. I can literally put TWO socks in the washer, and only one will ever see the dryer.

Will I continue to check bags, yes. I carry too much crap not to…will they get lost….yes. Life will go on, it just means a mad dash to Wally World on the other end for a day’s change of clothes.

But wait…there IS hope! The Powerball was not won last hump day, and is now $365 million! When my six numbers arrive in my hand, it'll be calling to order my new PC-12, and then lost luggage will be someone else’s problem.

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