Why American was the worst carrier with luggage last year

American Airlines, the largest airline in the world by fleet size and also the airline that sold a $250,000 lifetime unlimited travel pass while in desperate need of cash that ultimately lost them over $1,000,000 per person. Another thing they also lost is luggage, a whopping 626,000 pieces of it in 2019, here’s why

American Airlines, the Walmart of airlines. In 2019 they lost 8.48 bags per 1,000 bags they checked in while other airlines like Frontier only lost 4.2 bags lost per 1,000, about half of AA’s record. But why are they loosing so many bags? AA blames it on union mechanics and 737 MAX groundings, which seems strange to me. Allegiant had the best of all the US carriers losing only 1.75 bags per 1,000 meanwhile Delta was at the top of the US overall airline ratings in 2019 while AA slipped to 9th, beaten even by Spirit.

It seems like a tough time for AA in terms of customer satisfaction however weather and airport delays don’t help. It’s not all bad for American though, they made $1,700,000,000 in 2019 and will operate flights to 6 continents by June.

American Airlines Boeing 757 full image credit


They mishandled mine twice last year but they’ve always been great with getting the luggage to my hotel and their customer service team was excellent in offering a conciliation for the inconvenience.

What this article isn’t accounting for are unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather delays and people thinking they can land at an airport and navigate to the other side of the airport in 15 minutes just to save 50 bucks on their travel expense.

To not “trust” a carrier is a bit unfair in my opinion. Everyone is going to have a preference and bias of course. This boils down to Consumer Risk vs Consumer Reward, all while trying to save some money.


Edited but geniunly curious, not being from the US, what’s your prefered airline?

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I mainly book with American and Delta but occasionally I will book with Spirit, Southwest and Jet Blue. It really depends on where I’m traveling, how much budget I have to book the plans and how much time my clients need me onsite.


I think you also have to consider the circumstances here. American has hubs at some airports that are extremely busy with many other airlines having strong operations there (Places like ORD, MIA, JFK, LAX). Even a place like DFW or CLT is still very busy. It’s more likely for bags to be lost at places like those than say Southwest to lose bags at a place like BWI, HOU, MDW etc. I think the larger, legacy airlines are just more likely to lose more bags. It’s not that their employees are any different

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I prefer Southwest and can fly them most of the time. I also like Delta and JetBlue but don’t get to fly them that much. I’m not a huge fan of American, but they’re fine and pretty convenient for me. United isn’t my favorite, and all of the ULCC airlines like Spirit, Allegiant, and Frontier I haven’t flown. I’d really like to fly Alaska some day, but I don’t visit the west coast that often

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Yeah American is alright. I can see why they lose bags. At least they get you to point B with only the clothes you have on you. ;)

I have only flown in Alaska and Delta, because when you fly either of them, you’re almost guaranteed to be flying in good hands.

I think it is just because of the amount of passengers they carry around the world, and serving some of the biggest airports can be an issue. Unlike Allegiant who serves smaller airport it is easier to the bag from Plane to Claim. Also where as Frontier only carried 21 million and American carried 215 million. And like others said American staff are usually very helpful, and direct.

For what it’s worth, Delta has about 15-20 million less passengers a year than American and serves pretty much the same airports as American, yet they lost about half the amount of bags compared to American.

I don’t know why but 1/4 times I fly I lose my luggage no matter which airline it is. The most I’ve lost was with Virgin America and then American. I don’t know why it happens. I’ve flown with delta 5 times and 2 times I lost my luggage.

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i prefer air Canada or west jet

TBH Delta and Southwest lost my luggage more than American did…

I can’t really testify, I always fly American I fly them about 5-6 times a year and I usually don’t check my bag.

This definitely shouldn’t happen though. Great customer service is a good thing (and very important, but reliability even more in my opinion.

That’s very true though.

I can back the part about luggage being more likely to be lost at CLT. It’s happened before. I was picking up my dad and we got his luggage at like 0 dark 30 in the morning the next morning.

No matter what, I love American. They’re the airlines that let me in the cockpit and shut down the aircraft’s APU

Well, that’s up to the pilots to decide whether or not they allow you to go in, not the airline

A few years back, a Delta pilot allowed me to go into the cockpit after parking at the gate at SJC


I know, but they were pilots with American so I still love them 😀

Let’s not forget before we bash AA that they have a lot of upsides, and they do provide a good service in many ways. For example last month, they had 8 mainline perfect days, or days without a single cancellation or significant delay, and 4 for there regional flights. At DFW they went 11 days in a row without a single cancellation or significant delay. Both just in January. That’s darn impressive, so sure, they are not the best, but they are pretty darn good sometimes…