According to Department of Transportation statistics American Airlines is number 8 out of 8 airlines in baggage mishandling. They view this as a competitive disadvantage in the Chicago market where they lag United (#4 of 8). So they’re working to improve their baggage reliability statistics. Whether the bags make it to you dry seems like it may be another matter.
Effective February 5 American is eliminating use of the “hand off cart.” Currently passengers connecting from mainline to Envoy (the wholly owned regional carrier) have their bags put in a cart for Envoy to pick up and take to the correct gate. With this change bags will, instead, be left outside on the ground “for the regional baggage runners to sort and handle.” This:
- “reduce[s] the need to sort through full carts”
- reduces the likelihood of aircraft damage with fewer carts by planes
- leads to “fewer unnecessary bags entering the baggage system”
American Airlines at Chicago O’Hare
It also seems as though it means bags exposed more to the elements – rain, snow, and perhaps de-icing fluid. As they say “you get what you measure” and a goal of fewer misdelivered bags is different than a goal of delivering bags on-time and unmolested.