On the busiest single travel day of the year, the New York Times explores why the odds of your bags arriving safely at the carousel of your destination are still declining, despite costly efforts at many airlines to improve performance. So far this year, airlines have misplaced one bag out of every 138, compared to one in 155 last year. One culprit in lost baggage is apparently dirty barcode printer heads for the automatic sorting systems.
But the biggest factor is 6 years of airline downsizing that has cut the work force and time between connecting flights. "There's a lot of opportunity for failure," says American's baggage operations manager.