BA gets low marks for lost baggage
LONDON (Reuters) - British Airways had the worst record among major European airlines for mislaying passenger baggage last year, figures on Wednesday showed.
It came bottom of 24 airlines who filed reports with the Association of European Airlines (AEA), with 23 bags mishandled per 1,000 passengers.
The figures have been publicised by the Air Transport Users Council (AUC), for the first time this year.
The airline industry consumer watchdog is asking the European Commission to establish a "name and shame" league table.
AUC Chairman Tina Tietjen said: "When passengers hand over their suitcases at check-in they should be able to expect to see them the other end.
"Complaints to the council show that instances of mishandled baggage can cause passengers considerable stress, inconvenience and expense. They also show that passengers often struggle to get reasonable redress from airlines after the event.
"We therefore look to airlines to do all they can to improve their baggage handling."
More than 5.5 million bags went missing among the 24 AEA members in 2006 -- an average of 15.9 per 1,000 passengers.
Large airlines, such as Lufthansa, Air France, Alitalia and KLM, were the worst offenders, as well as the smaller airline TAP Air Portugal, which had 21 bags per 1,000 passengers disappear.
The bigger airlines are more susceptible because they tend to operate at major hub airports. Passengers on connecting flights are exposed to the highest risk of all because each bag is handled more often.
BA was quoted in the report as blaming increased security measures, the volume of hold baggage going through Heathrow and baggage system failures at Terminal 4 for its performance.
The report carried comments from Geoff Want, director of operations at BA, who was quoted as telling the council the company had undertaken a "significant amount of work to improve" its performance, and apologised to customers affected by delayed baggage.
The figures exclude the six AEA members who do not provide statistics, which include Virgin Atlantic and bmi.
AEA membership does not include Ryanair and easyJet.
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