According to a recent report, an estimated 30 million bags were temporarily
lost by airlines last year. Roughly 200,000 of those bags were never reunited
with their owners.

The misdirected bags comprised only 1 per cent of the 3 billion bags
processed last year by airports, but "the The problem of mishandled baggage is
worsening on both sides of the Atlantic," SITA said in a report released before
yesterday’s airline and airport passenger services exposition in Paris.

Last year, mishandled luggage cost world airlines $3.48 billion, compared
with $2.22 billion in 2004, SITA said.

The jump partly reflects improvements in data collection, but also the
increasing costs resulting from inadequate baggage management.

Greater airport congestion, tight connection times, increased transfers and
stricter security are all contributing to more late or missing bags, SITA said.

But the biggest problem is the growing number of passengers.

To help the airline industry cope with more passengers and bags, SITA is
promoting use of a tiny computer-style chip on luggage tags.