updated 10/9/2006 11:38:08 AM ET 2006-10-09T15:38:08

The number of bags lost or delayed by airlines continues to climb, with a daily average of 14,089 in August, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics said Wednesday.

It was the worst month for baggage-handling since the one-time meltdown in December 2004. Massive problems with US Airways’ baggage handling over the holidays then were largely responsible for a spike in lost baggage reports — 9.11 per 1,000 passengers — and a number of flight cancellations.

For every 1,000 passengers in August, 8.08 bags were reported lost or delayed, up from both July’s rate of 6.5 and the August 2005 rate of 6.4.

Trouble with checked bags was partly the result of a ban on liquids and gels in carryon luggage after an alleged plot to bomb U.S.-bound jetliners was foiled in Britain.

Passengers who normally carried their luggage began checking it to avoid having their toiletries confiscated by security screeners.

“The increased number of bags being checked resulted in more mishandlings,” said David Castelveter, spokesman for the airline trade group Air Transport Association.

The ban was lifted six weeks later after officials decided small amounts of liquids and gels could be carried aboard airplanes if they were put in a quart-size plastic bag.

But the trend is for more bags to be lost, stolen, mishandled or damaged. The number of mishandled bags was 23 percent higher in 2005 than in 2004.

Kevin Mitchell, president of the Business Travel Coalition, said seasoned business travelers anticipated bag handling problems during the busy summer months.

He blamed short staffing and strapped baggage-handling systems.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised,” Mitchell said.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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