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Best and worst airlines for luggage care

Published 8 months ago

Plane soaring above palm trees in windy conditions

2023 has witnessed another testing summer of air travel. The media is littered with stories of never-ending lines, cancelled flights and irresponsible baggage handling.

Dealing with lost or damaged luggage on your travels is becoming increasingly commonplace, so we wanted to understand which airlines are providing fliers with the best and worst luggage care experience.


To do so, we analysed over 86,000 Trustpilot reviews and 948,299 Google Map reviews, as well as the latest industry reports. Read on to see what we found.

Key findings

  • Hainan Group (which has Hainan Airlines as the biggest agent under the company) was the airline with the highest level of customer complaints, with 43.7% of all Trustpilot reviews mentioning mishandled luggage

  • Aer Lingus, British Airways and easyJet were the most complained about UK and Irish carriers

  • Frontier Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines were the US airlines with the most customer complaints about luggage care

  • Korean Air topped the poll for the best airline for luggage care globally, with none of the company’s Trustpilot reviews mentioning luggage issues
Empty chairs in airport waiting area with view of runway

Worst airlines for luggage care

There's nothing worse than arriving after a long flight to find your luggage is damaged, or worse, conspicuously absent from the luggage conveyor. Unfortunately, this can be a common occurrence when travelling, with SITA research finding that in 2020, there was a mishandled bag rate of 3.5 per thousand passengers.1


To understand the best and worst airlines for luggage care, we analysed 86,000 Trustpilot reviews of the world's largest airlines to see how many mentioned lost or broken luggage.


The research found that China’s Hainan Group (in which Hainan Airlines is the biggest agent under the company) was the airline with the highest level of customer complaints, with a staggering 43.7% of all Trustpilot reviews mentioning mishandled luggage.


Indonesia’s Lion Air was the second most complained about airline for luggage care with 39.3% of reviews featuring a complaint, followed by China Southern Airlines (35.9%).


The top twenty most complained about airlines for mishandled luggage are below.

Table highlighting the 20 worst airlines for luggage care

Aer Lingus, British Airways and EasyJet were the most complained about UK and Ireland carriers, while Frontier Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines were the US airlines with the most customer complaints around luggage care.

Best airlines for luggage care

Conversely, Korean Air topped the poll as the best airline for luggage care, with none of the Trustpilot reviews mentioning issues with luggage. Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aéreas has just 3.1% of its Trustpilot reviews mentioning issues with luggage, with Japan Airlines closely behind (3.4%).


The best airlines for luggage care, based on customer complaints are below.

Table highlighting the 20 best airlines for luggage care

What to do if your luggage is lost or damaged

As our head designer, Chris Reid explains: “If you find yourself in the unfortunate position that your bag arrives at the destination damaged, delayed or lost there are a few steps you can take.


“As soon as you notice any damage, report it immediately. With most airlines, you have up to seven days to report this, but where possible you should speak to a customer service representative before you leave the airport. From there, you should be asked to fill out a claim form along with sharing pictures of the damaged luggage. Once this is completed, most airlines will work with you to provide a solution that is best appropriate to damage caused, which could be compensation or paying to replace or repair the items. If the damage is enough to have caused further damage to the packed items, there may be cause for a separate claim to cover these.


“If your luggage is delayed or lost, speak to your carrier's customer service team within the airport and file a ‘property irregularity report’, which will provide you with a file reference number. It is important to keep this safe as you will need to refer back to it. While you are waiting for your bag to be returned, keep the receipts for any essential items, such as toiletries, as you can claim back for replacing these.


“If your bag eventually arrives at your destination, you can then submit a claim to your airline up to 21 days after the luggage is back in your possession. This claim can cover the cost of the essential items, as well as any further expenses incurred as a result of your luggage being delayed.


“If you do not receive your bag back within 21 days after the day it should have arrived, it is officially classed as lost and a further claim should be made. As well as the expenses for the necessary items, submit a list of the contents of your luggage, providing receipts where possible. There are some exceptions on what customers can and can’t claim, so we recommend checking your airline’s terms and conditions for more information”.

Plane landing on airstrip with mountains and greenery in background

Methodology

The research analysed 86,000 Trustpilot reviews and 948,299 Google Map reviews for the number of reviews that featured negative keywords such as ‘scuffed’, ‘damaged’, ‘broken’ and ‘delayed’ with luggage. The airlines were chosen based on the top 50 largest, based on the number of passengers carried each year. 


Sources

  1. Nations Online