Boca Raton, FL – News travels fast – the good and the bad. While travel is at an all-time high, airlines are struggling to keep up with demand. Long queues, delayed/cancelled flights and hundreds of thousands of reported lost bags. With over 220,000 bags mishandled by airlines in the US, travelers took to social media forums to post tips on how to avoid losing luggage. The top recommendation that users gave was to avoid baggage checks. But if they have to check your luggage, then take a direct flight.
However, not many Americans live near an international airport—they’ll likely have to take connecting flights. But how far are they willing to travel and spend in order not to lose their luggage? How many miles will they drive to their nearest international airport for that direct flight, and how much more are they willing to spend for a direct flight over the connecting flight?
We asked American travelers from around the country to find out.
First, we asked Americans how the recent baggage crisis changed their travel plans. The majority of respondents (60.1%) now take carry-on bags instead of checking their own bags. Whether you’re taking a direct flight or a connecting flight, taking a carry-on bag is practically the most foolproof way to not lose your luggage. You will carry it with you throughout your journey, store it in the overhead compartment of the flight and keep it in sight at all times. A quarter of respondents (25.8%) now take direct flights over connecting flights while 5.5% of travelers now drive to their nearest airport that offers them direct flights to their destination. Travelers taking direct flights have the luxury of checking their own bags as they are avoiding the risk of transferring their luggage via connecting flights. Another 8.6% either canceled/delayed their travel plans, never flew before, or are now driving to their destination.
How far is too far? We asked respondents how many miles they would be willing to fly for a direct flight in order not to lose their luggage. Responses were returned on an average of 168 milesthat has to do with 2.8 hours in the street. In addition, airlines recommend that travelers arrive at least 2 hours (for a domestic flight) before the scheduled departure time – therefore, travelers should be on the road about 4.8 hours before their flight.
But how much would a car cost 168 miles to drive? At the current average price of gas in the United States, drivers would pay approx $26.06 on gas for their 2.8 hour journey.
Put it on the credit card
Vacations don’t come cheap, especially when you include the cost of flights. While connecting flights can typically be 20-60% cheaper than a direct flight, they also involve a high risk of lost luggage. Is it worth the risk? While some are willing to take this chance, others are not.
So what will it cost them to avoid the risk of losing their luggage? Respondents told us they would spend a An additional $123.16 for a direct flight, instead of a connecting flight. $123.16 might seem like a lot, but you’ll probably need to spend money on clothes in the meantime. It might not be anywhere near $123.16, but it will end up being an unnecessary purchase.
with “where to buy cheap luggage” climbing Google Trends by 200% (over the past 90 days), we wanted to see how many travelers have recently purchased a handbag. We asked our respondents if they have recently purchased hand luggage for flights to avoid baggage checks. A 63.4% of respondents said yes.
Since “where to buy cheap luggage” skyrocketed, we wanted to find out what the price of “cheap” was, since handbags can range from $30 to $250, depending on quality and brand. We asked our respondents how much they spent on their new handbag and what they spent on average $103.69 in their last carry-on bag.
Taking everything we’ve gathered so far, we wanted to find out exactly how much the average American was willing to spend to avoid lost luggage. Since most of our respondents now take carry-on bags instead of checked bags, take nonstop flights, and are willing to drive 168 miles for a nonstop flight, we added these costs together—giving us or a total of $252. As mentioned earlier, it may sound like a steep price, but it’s definitely one that travelers can easily budget for. Better safe than sorry!
For added peace of mind, travelers can always pay for baggage insurance if they are checking their bags. The average cost of baggage insurance is approx 93 dollars. Therefore, the average American would pay 345 dollars (with baggage insurance) to avoid lost baggage.
In August 2022, we surveyed 1,000 Americans from every state, including the District of Columbia. We used our respondents’ answers to calculate averages, percentages, and a variety of other factors.
To find the average gas price travelers would spend on a 168-mile trip, we looked at the current average gas price ($3,949) and the average miles per gallon for a mid-size car (24 mpg) in the country . Using this gas usage and cost calculator, fuel usage for a 168-mile trip in an average-sized car would cost $26.06 when the price of gas is $3,949 per gallon.
To determine the average cost of insuring luggage as an option for our travelers, we looked at how much travel insurance typically costs – typically 4-8% of the total cost of the trip. The average American vacations for a week in the US and spends about $1,558 per person. We applied the average travel insurance percentage (6%) to the average cost of a week’s vacation – which comes to $93 for the average cost of luggage insurance.