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For the first six months of 2006, airlines posted a 5.86 percent rate of mishandled baggage, well below the 6.20 rate for January through June 2005.
Reasons for lost and mishandled luggage include cheaper fares that result in more travel, heavier bags, overbooked flights and weather delays.
Changes to Transportation Security Agency rules on baggage often complicate baggage departments' jobs and drive up the rates of mishandled luggage. Once everyone gets used to the new system, things tend to get better.