It pays to get travel insurance after report reveals BA is worst for lost luggage

21 February 2008 / by Verity G
British Airways has come under fire after a damning industry report revealed that the airline was responsible for the loss of over one million bags last year and is the second worst airline in Europe for losing passengers' belongings.

BA's performance deteriorated in 2007, with a larger proportion of bags failing to reach destinations with their owners - a higher total than any its European rivals, however, the title for the overall worst performing airline went to TAP Air Portugal who pipped BA to the post having lost 27.8 bags per every 1,000 passengers.

The figures from the Association of European Airlines (AEA) showed that BA, Britain's biggest airline, mislaid 26.5 bags for every 1,000 passengers it carried last year, compared to 23 in 2006.

According to the Air Transport Users Council (AUC), airlines operating through "hub" airports such as Heathrow fared the worst in 2007. This is partly due to the increased levels of hold luggage as a result of the one-bag rule at UK airports in the wake of the recent terror attacks.

Speaking to reporters, AUC chairman Tina Tietjen said: "Whatever the extenuating circumstances, when passengers hand their bag in at check-in, they should expect to see their bag at the other end."

Aviation watchdogs have called for the European Commission to introduce a table of the best and worst performing airlines as under the current rules, it is not compulsory for airlines to submit their annual figures and last year, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Aer Lingus failed to provide their records.

While lost luggage can cause inconvenience and stress as well as added expenses, even if the bags are found, adequate travel insurance

can offer a certain measure of confidence in the event that passengers' bags go AWOL.

However, a recent survey by Legal and General found that the average value of the luggage and contents for a family of four travelling on holiday is over £2,500, and that many home contents insurance policies will provide the necessary cover for families or individuals holidaying away from home.

Andy Dellbridge, Head of GI products at Legal and General, comments: “It’s seems more important than ever that holidaymakers check they do have insurance cover in place. We automatically think of claiming under a travel policy but customers may be covered under the personal possessions section of their home insurance policy.

"We would also suggest that any travellers make sure they keep details of their insurance provider, any emergency contact number and the insurance policy number with them or in their hand luggage. So if they should unfortunately lose any luggage, they have their insurance details handy to arrange for the emergency replacement of their belongings, if needed.”

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