When you hop on a plane, you run the risk of losing something along the way. It’s just another hazard of traveling these days. But what you may be surprised to learn is just how much, and how often luggage gets “lost.”
While checking a bag is common practice for many travelers, some airports have better track records than others. In fact, there’s one airport that comes out as the No. 1 most notorious for missing baggage. (It’s important to note that for the sake of this article, we’re talking about missing items from bags, as opposed to missing bags that never reach their destination.)
Interested in learning more? We were, too, so we tapped information provided by Stratos Jet Charters, Inc. The company used data that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security compiled on TSA claims. Based on the claims filed between January 2016 and February 2017, here are the items most likely to be lost or damaged.
15. Personal electronics/Cosmetics and grooming (tie)
- Lost or damaged: 8%
Phones, personal gaming devices, and the like account for the personal electronics category, while products such as makeup and hair brushes contribute to the cosmetics and grooming category. Although these products may not be the most expensive on the list, no one wants to have to deal with the aftermath of having them stolen.
Falling just behind personal electronics and cosmetics and grooming were travel accessories at 6%, personal accessories/food and drink (tie) at 4%, and sporting equipment and supplies/currency (tie) at 3%.
Next: Keeping valuables in your checked bag? Bad idea.
- Lost or damaged: 9%
Think stashing Grandma’s diamond ring in your checked bag is a good idea? Think again. When it comes to jewelry and other valuables, we need to take it back to basics. While having faith in humanity is admirable, keeping important belongings on your person throughout your travels is the only way to guarantee someone won’t take them along the way.
Next: Losing this item would be the worst.
13. Computers and accessories
- Lost or damaged: 11%
Just think about how many passwords you have saved on your computer. How much personal information is on there? How many family photos do you have saved? Yeah, it’s scary just thinking about it. And the last thing you want is for your entire life to land in the hands of anyone who’s not you. So, exercise extreme caution when it comes to flying with your laptop.
Next: It fits!
- Lost or damaged: 13%
This statistic begs the question of just how tempted some folks are when they have the chance to go through another person’s stuff. And apparently, its pretty tempting, as clothing is the second most coveted baggage item.
Next: These items are the most likely to be reported as lost, stolen, or damaged.
- Lost or damaged: 18%
Claiming the top spot, baggage, cases, and purses were the items with the most claims. We’re not quite sure if the TSA took these things at the security checkpoint or lost in transit, but the fact remains: You’ll want to hold onto your personal belongings next time you fly.
Now that we’ve covered the items most likely to be lost, damaged, or stolen, let’s switch gears as we dive into some numbers.
Next: Find out how many claims travelers filed over a four year period.
10. The TSA received 30,621 property loss claims over four years
- Result: Far too many folks without their belongings
While no system will ever be perfect and mistakes will always be made, 30,621 seems like a pretty big number. And according to CNN, that’s how many property loss claims travelers filed with the TSA from 2010–2014. Curious to know where all these items were actually lost along the way? We’ve got the answer.
Next: Here’s where your stuff is most likely to get snatched.
9. Checking your luggage is the biggest risk
- Result: More people (hopefully) opting for the carry-on route
Not too surprisingly, people packed most missing items in their checked luggage. And it makes sense. Just think about every time you check a bag. You’re leaving it in the hands of a stranger, and you have no clue where it’s going, who will be handling it, whether someone will be inspecting it, or if it will even end up at your destination — but that’s a whole other issue. So, you may want to think twice before checking that suitcase of yours.
Next: You won’t believe how much the personal property losses totaled.
8. The total property loss claimed between 2010–2014
- Result: $2.5 million
Yikes. That’s a pretty big number. And what’s even more disturbing is that not all the people who filed a claim received reimbursement.
So, what happened to all these items? Certainly, they didn’t just vanish into thin air. According to CNN, 25,016 items went missing from checked luggage, while TSA checkpoints claimed the distant second spot, with 5,605 reports.
Now that we’ve gotten logistics out of the way, it’s time to start counting down to the U.S. airport with the most stolen baggage. And trust us, you don’t want to miss it.
Next: This East Coast airport earned the No. 7 spot in terms of most claims.
7. Boston Logan International Airport
- Claims filed: 885
This one may surprise you a little, as Boston Logan International tends to fly under the radar. When it comes to bad press, there are several other, much more notorious east coast hubs that tend to top the list. But be careful not to sleep on this one. Bean Town’s airport had a total of 885 property loss claims over four short years.
Next: Moving down south for the next stop on our list
6. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
- Claims filed: 1,063
If you’ve ever flown through Atlanta, you’ve been witness to the absurd amount of people who pass through every day. As the busiest airport in the world, it’s no wonder Hartsfield-Jackson International makes our list. But perhaps it does say something that, despite its number of daily passengers, the airport landed behind a few other well-known hubs.
Next: One of the most hated airports in the country
5. Newark Liberty International Airport
- Claims filed: 1,072
Newark has a long legacy of less-than-glowing reviews. Many travelers hate it, and that’s probably not going to change anytime soon. In fact, Newark Liberty International has even been called the “most miserable airport in the country” — certainly no curve balls in that description. More importantly, Newark’s spot on this list isn’t doing it any favors.
Next: Welcome to Miami.
4. Miami International Airport
- Claims filed: 1,168
Not only is Miami known for its sun, sand, and clubs, but it’s home to one of the worst airports for theft. In addition to attracting sun worshipers and party-goers alike, the global hot spot isn’t as carefree as one may think. Or, at least its airport isn’t. The airport is a major international hub with lots of moving parts, which is why we highly recommend keeping your stuff in sight — just in case.
Next: Another Florida airport makes the list.
3. Orlando International Airport
- Claims filed: 1,308
Disney fans, hold onto your mouse ears. Turns out, the magical powers of Mickey don’t quite reach all the way to the airport. Orlando has an even worse track record than Miami, which can only mean one thing — more cartoon-loving thieves must reside in Orlando. We kid, we kid.
Next: A cross-country flight will get you to the next spot on our list.
2. Los Angeles International Airport
- Claims filed: 1,491
Ah, LAX — the airport that’s home to the rich and famous. A and D list celebs alike are often spotted flying in and out of L.A., so, perhaps it’s no surprise that this airport made the list. Could it be that most employees are hoping to get their hands on a piece of Hollywood memorabilia? Maybe, but that would be a sweeping generalization, and we’re not going to do that here.
Next: And the No. 1 worst airport for theft is …
1. John F. Kennedy International Airport
- Claims filed: 2,493
For years, JFK has lived up to its reputation as the airport with the most theft in the country. In fact, the whistle was blown on a huge inside-job scam back in 2012, claiming that JFK had about 200 thefts per day. So, even if you’re someone who typically swears by checking your luggage, hopefully these numbers will make you think twice.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!