Even as airlines across the globe did well in reducing the number of checked-in bags lost in transit, data from the civil aviation ministry showed that the misplaced luggage continued to be one of the top three fliers’ complaints against domestic airlines in India.
Globally, 6.5 bags per thousand passengers got misplaced in 2015 according to an annual baggage report by Geneva-based technology service provider SITA. This was the lowest since 2003 when the company which provides technical assistance to select Indian carriers and airports introduced the yearly audit.
But data from the civil aviation ministry showed that 22.4% complaints recorded by domestic airlines in March accounted for grouses about misplaced baggage. At least one of the five complaints received by the ministry in January and February were also related to missing bags, the data added.
“Safe baggage delivery is one of the basic functions of an airline. It is high time the airline sector in India wakes up to this reality ,” said a former senior official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) requesting anonymity.
According to the SIT A report close to 80% bags misplaced last year were delivered to passengers late. The average delay time was close to two days, the report added. The recovery time of lost bags becomes all the more important when checked- i n bags contain essential fliers’ belongings, said industry experts.
For instance, Bandra resident Afia Modak’s missing bag from a Goa-Mumbai SpiceJet flight in February contained her fiancee’s passport among other essentials such as her engagement ring. While the bag was finally traced back to Jammu airport close to a month after it went missing, her fiancée had to run pillar to post to get a get a new copy of his passport as an important business trip was soon lined up.
Globally misplaced baggage is expected to become a forgotten worry courtesy the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) resolution 753 which promises a better baggage delivery record by June 2018.
“It means that passengers will be able track their bag, just like a parcel, which will reduce anxiety and allow them to take fast action if flights are disrupted and their bags are delayed,” Francesco Violante, chief executive officer, SITA.