Causes of delayed bags in air travel 2018

The statistic represents the distribution of reasons for delayed bags in air travel in 2018. According to SITA, 46 percent of all bags delayed was due to transfer mishandling.

Baggage handling

In recent years, baggage handling seems to become safer than before, with only 5.69 lost bags per thousand passengers in 2018, and a 47 percent decrease in total mishandled baggage since 2007. However, baggage handling also caused a 2.4 billion U.S. dollars expenditure for the aviation industry in 2018, which means there is still promising potential in cost savings. In the U.S., more than 17 percent of complaints were filed for baggage-mishandling reasons.

Tracking bags have been drawing attention over the past years and several airlines and their partners have been collaborating on the implementation of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Resolution 753. Effective starting June 2018 and implemented by all IATA’s members, the resolution facilitates the tracking of each bag during its whole journey – from loading the bag into the aircraft to the arrivals and transfers checkpoints, the tracking information will be shared with all participating partners.

To make this possible, airlines have to implement scanning technologies, either manual or automatic tag reading (ATR), employing laser or radio frequency identification (RFID) scanning. The approach for implementing RFID comes at high costs-per-tag for the airlines, however, the significant opportunity to grant passengers the ability to track their luggage like a parcel is an advantage. Airports will benefit from faster and more accurate processes, and therefore from an increase in baggage-handling efficiency.

Reasons for delayed bags in world aviation industry in 2018

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Release date

April 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Values may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

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