Lost Luggage: Delta Flies 1,000 Bags Across Atlantic With no Passengers

Travel insurer InsureMyTrip.com has some tips for passengers who may have had their luggage mishandled.

Getting your luggage from one destination to the next is always a gamble. 

Airports lose bags all the time. 

Out of the 28 million bags that are mishandled annually, 5% are completely lost, meaning there are 1.4 million lost pieces of luggage every year, according to Claim Compass

For every 1,000 passengers, 5.69 bags are mishandled and that number has been growing by 2.2% every year. 

Transfer mishandling accounts for the biggest share of delayed bags, with 46% of delayed bags being mishandled during a layover, according to Claim Compass. 

With airlines cancelling flights left and right and airports limiting their capacity, the problem could only get worse.

Earlier this week, Heathrow airport, the U.K.’s busiest, announced that it was limiting the number of passengers who can depart each day during the busy summer season to 100,000, 4,000 fewer than previously scheduled. 

This week, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) – Get Delta Air Lines Inc. Report flew an empty plane Heathrow to Detroit.

The Airbus A330-200 landed at Delta’s hub at Detroit Wayne County Metro Airport on July 11 with 1,000 bags that had been stranded in Britain. 

“Delta teams worked a creative solution to move delayed checked bags from London-Heathrow on July 11 after a regularly scheduled flight had to be canceled given airport passenger volume restrictions at Heathrow,” said a statement from the airline to CNN. “Delta flight 9888 from Heathrow to Delta’s Detroit hub flew 1,000 bags back to the United States, where teams then forwarded the bags on to our customers.”

Thankfully there are some tips in case your luggage unexpectedly ends up in Detroit. 

Lost Luggage Tips

Between January and April of 2022 more than 880,000 bags were mishandled at airports, according to data from the Department of Transportation

The experts at insurance company InsureMyTrip.com have some tips.

While airlines are responsible to reimburse travelers in some instances, they often exclude liability for certain items like stuff that is fragile and electronics. 

The pro tip from insurance experts is to take photos of the items in your luggage so you know what you packed and what may have been damaged, lost or stolen. 

Say you do land at your destination without your luggage, airlines may offer reimbursement when a traveler needs to buy necessities. But there are limits. 

Pro tip: save the receipts for anything purchased during your delay, you’ll need them to file a claim. 

Final thing you should know: travel insurance coverage could continue once you disembark. 

Travelers who purchase baggage loss coverage may be covered if something is stolen from the luggage at a hotel or while on a tour. 

Flight Cancellations 

An already hectic summer air travel season is about to get much more frustrating.

Just eight weeks ago, United Airlines was feeling a lot better about the summer travel season, so the company said that it would kick off the largest transatlantic expansion in its history.

The airline planned to add or resume 30 flights over the next two months, growing its capacity in the market by 25% compared to 2019.

The majority of that expansion was supposed to happen at Newark Liberty International Airport, the airline’s primary transatlantic hub and its biggest hub in the New York City area.

By the end of the expansion, United expected to have 421 daily departures from Newark, up from 405 daily departures in June 2019.

Then in late June:

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