Airline baggage fees reduce lost baggage fees

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You may be paying more for airline baggage service, but—finally—you’re actually getting better service.

Hefty baggage fees continue to anger airline travelers, but most carriers have invested in better baggage handling technology and equipment. And it’s paying off: So far this year, the rate at which airlines lose luggage has improved by a whopping 38% compared with two years ago. Alaska Airlines is even offering a 20-minute baggage-delivery guarantee.

The problem of lost luggage, of course, is far from solved. Even with the improvement, more than 1.5 million bags didn’t show up on carousels as scheduled on domestic flights through September this year, according to the Department of Transportation. That’s 900,000 fewer than in the same period of 2008, the year airlines started charging fees for checked baggage. Go back three years and the improvement is even more dramatic. This year, half as many bags have been “mishandled” as in the same period of 2007.

Full story: Better Odds of Getting Your Bags