Airlines try to avoid losing passenger luggage, but increasing air travel and availability of conscientious luggage handlers always create problems.
Of late, North American airlines have managed to lose more luggage than anytime before.
Small airlines that fly direct from one city to another manage to lose none or negligible number of luggage, than those that require transfers.
In all the years that I travelled, my luggage was lost on two occasions, one by KLM returning from Armenia (the airline gave preference to fly flowers, instead of my luggage, but my luggage was delivered to my home in Toronto one day later), the other lost luggage was more problematic and much more time consuming. Flying from Toronto to Georgetown, Guyana, I had to transfer at Trinidad and Tobago. My luggage remained at Piarco Airport in … rather than flying on the same aircraft.
The following day the luggage arrives, but I had to go to customs, waited for hours, and after bribing an official, my luggage was retrieved.
There are precautions you can take to avoid disasters by choosing an airline with a good reputation. Needless to say, they charge more, but pay more attention to luggage transfers.
Travel light with only a carry-on luggage if at all possible.
Try to fly from home to a destination direct with no stopover or transfer.
Do not pack anything of “value” (ie expensive lap top computers etc) in your luggage.
The best advice is to buy luggage with imbedded chips, or fly to airports that employ radio frequency identification technology (RFID), using tags implanted with microchips, instead of baggage barcodes.
This system is close to 99 per cent accurate, as opposed to conventional methods that are 90 per cent accurate.
RFID technology is still young and expensive, but tourism orientated cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles invested in their airports to ensure that passengers avoid the nightmare of lost luggage upon arrival at their destination.