Mishandled baggage becoming a problem for some travelers

by Brian Mooar
NBC News

It's been a summer of discontent for America's flying public.

Last week the President and Congress addressed the problem of worsening flight delays.

Now we're learning that it's been the worst summer in 20 years for mishandled baggage.

The airlines say the root of the problem is an antiquated air-traffic control system.

Passengers are pointing the finger of blame elsewhere.

The latest transportation department statistics show these passengers aren't alone in their frustration.

U-S Airlines logged more than more 466-thousand thousand reports of mishandled baggage in July alone.

That's up more than a hundred thousand since the same time last year.

Experts say the airlines have been slow to react.

"They didn't ramp up their ancillary services quick enough - to handle the influx of passengers - over the course of this particular summer and maybe even on into the fall," explained Dean Headley, a Wichita State University professor and airline quality expert.

That's a bad sign with the busiest travel time of the year fast approaching.

The airlines say bad weather and more checked bags are contributing to the problem.

So are reduced numbers of baggage handlers, and more people flying on smaller planes with tighter weight restrictions.

Still, mishandled luggage affects fewer than eight in a thousand fliers.

The number of consumer complaints in July more than doubled to more than 17-hundred.

The number of compliments was just two.