'Full Upright and Locked Position': 7 (sometimes sobering) facts about air travel

From the facts about airline food to the truth about why bags get lost, writer and former FAA chief counsel Mark Gerchick takes a hard look at traveling by plane in "Full Upright and Locked Position."

3. Missing bags

Mary Altaffer/AP

Airlines usually prefer to use the term "mishandled" rather than "lost" to describe your missing luggage. Either way, it's an unhappy scenario when you're standing at an empty baggage carousel waiting for luggage that is never going to emerge. There were almost two million cited cases of mishandled luggage in 2011, and the statistics mean that American airlines are mishandling more than 5,000 pieces of luggage every day. It is getting better, though: In 2012, airlines lost luggage only half as often as they had in the five years before that.

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