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Nearly a third of Canadians have lost their luggage while flying: survey

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It might be one of your worst fears when heading to the airport – losing your luggage on a flight and never seeing your bags again.

Unfortunately, it happens more often than you may suspect, according to a new survey.

Research from Compare the Market Australia shows roughly one-third of Canadians (32.1 per cent) have lost their luggage when flying, while 6.7 per cent of those who lost luggage never saw their belongings again.

The survey, which compared the experiences of Canadians, Americans and Australians, found Canada had the highest percentage of flyers who had lost their bags while on a flight, followed by the U.S. at 27.6 per cent and Australia at 24.5 per cent.

Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 adults from the three countries, asking whether they got their luggage back, how long it took, and if they received compensation from the airline and/or travel insurance.

HOW OFTEN DO FLYERS GET REIMBURSED?

Thankfully, if you do lose your bags, the odds of getting them back are in your favour. More than 90 per cent of people in all three countries who said they lost luggage ended up getting it back at some point, the data shows.

More than 93 per cent of Canadians and Australians had their luggage returned to them, compared to 90.2 per cent of Americans, meaning nearly 10 per cent of Americans with lost luggage never saw it again, while 6.7 per cent of Canadians and 6.5 per cent of Australians with missing bags lost them for good.

This graph plots survey data from 3,000 Canadians, Americans and Australians who say they've lost their luggage while on a flight. Data was collected by Compare the Market Australia. Graph created by Joey Chini, CTVNews.ca It appears Canadians have the best chance of getting compensated by their airline if their bags are nowhere to be found: 37 per cent said they were reimbursed after their luggage was lost, compared to 25.2 per cent of Australians and 23.4 per cent of Americans.

Canadians also had to wait the least amount of time on average to get the most compensation, compared to the other two countries. Survey respondents said they had to wait an average of 18 days for an average payout of US$734 from the airline, whereas Americans and Australians said they had to wait longer for less money: about 21 days for US$668 for Americans, and roughly 28 days for US$512 for Australians.

Canadians who chose to submit a claim about lost luggage through their travel insurer, however, were reimbursed about US$560 after waiting an average of 11 days. Meanwhile, Australians waited an average of 26 days for a reimbursement of about US$569 from their travel insurer, while Americans said they waited 15 days for US$1,031.

Some survey respondents were compensated by both their airline and travel insurance.

WHAT GETS LOST MOST OFTEN?

According to the survey, 63.5 per cent of Canadians said nothing has ever been stolen from them or lost when travelling by plane, compared to 72 per cent of Australians and just under 60 per cent of Americans.

Nearly 11 per cent of Canadian survey respondents said they lost their clothes, while 8.9 per cent said they lost their electronic devices, 8.4 per cent said they lost their jewelry or watch, 7.4 per cent said their purse or wallet was lost, 6.7 per cent lost their backpack or carry-on bag, 3.6 per cent lost their passport or ID and 1.8 per cent said they lost something else.

The most common items Americans said gets lost or stolen from them is their electronic devices, while Australians said their clothes get misplaced most frequently.

When asked about how they would protect themselves from their items being lost or stolen, Canadians and Americans said the best solution is to keep their valuables on their person, while Australians said buying travel insurance is the best way to go.

Compare the Market commissioned Pure Profile to survey 1,004 Australian, 1,008 Canadian and 1,009 American adults in November 2022. 

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