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Where Does Missing Luggage Go?

How do airlines lose so much luggage each year?  I have an anecdote to share about that question.

Last Tuesday afternoon I flew American Airlines from Atlanta to Dallas-Fort Worth.  While my plane was waiting for a gate to be available, we were parked close to the gates where lines of airplanes were being serviced ready for their next flight.  One had recently landed and I watched as workers loaded baggage onto the carts that get driven by small tractor units from place to place.  Each of the three carts that made up this particular "train" were piled higher than the sides.  As the driver jerked away en route to the baggage claim area, one bag fell off the rear cart and landed with a thump on the tarmac.  The driver probably didn't notice and kept on driving.

For the next twenty minutes or so, as I sat and watched, a number of workers in that area clearly saw the bag but ignored it.  It was still sitting on the ground when we pulled up to the gate and I lost sight of it.  Personal trauma doubtless occurred when the traveler couldn't find his or her bag at the carousel.  I kind of hope it was an American employee.


February 16, 2007 | Permalink


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