Lost, Stolen, Broken: TSA Pays Millions for Bag Claims

Lost, Stolen, Broken: TSA Pays Millions for Bag Claims

In this Dec. 1, 2013 file photo, travelers walk through terminal 3 baggage claim at O'Hare International airport in Chicago. The Department of Transportation on Monday, May 4, 2015 said that airline net income fell to $7.5 billion in 2014 from $12.2 billion in 2013. Airlines collected $3.5 billion in bag fees, a 5 percent increase over 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
In this Dec. 1, 2013 file photo, travelers walk through terminal 3 baggage claim at O’Hare International airport in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

 

(USA Today) – The Transportation Security Administration paid passengers $3 million over the last five years for claims that airport security screeners broke, lost or stole their luggage or items inside, according to a review of about 50,000 complaints.

After investigating to determine if TSA or its agents were responsible, the agency approved or settled with passengers in about 15,000 cases – nearly 1 out of 3 claims filed from 2010 to 2014. Payments ranged from a few bucks for missing food or medicine to several thousand dollars for jewelry, electronics and other items passengers said were broken or disappeared in TSA’s hands.

The nation’s 30 busiest airports accounted for about two-thirds of all paid claims and about the same share of the government settlement payments. While John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York topped the list with 857 paid claims and Los Angeles International was next at 791, that’s largely a result of the many millions more passengers’ TSA screens there.

Among the 30 top airports, once adjusted by the number of people served, the share of passengers who filed claims – and got paid – was highest at Dulles International in Washington and Orlando International in the 2010 to 2014 time frame. Smaller airports were not immune to the problem. At Reno/Tahoe International, TSA approved 120 passengers’ claims over five years – about the same as much larger airports including Chicago Midway, Nashville and Detroit.

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