These are the best and worst airlines for mishandled baggage

Having your baggage lost, damaged or stolen is a quick way to spoil an otherwise fun holiday trip. According to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are a few airlines you might want to avoid if you don’t want this to happen to you.

The most recent Air Travel Consumer Report from the DOT shows that in September, Frontier Airlines had the greatest number of reports of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, at 5.62, while Southwest Airlines had the overall most reports of mishandled bags, with 30,049.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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For the first nine months of this year, the DOT said that Expressjet Airlines takes the lead for the greatest number of reports per 1,000 passengers of mishandled bags, with 4.41, and Southwest again ranked at the top, with 342,155 total mishandled baggage reports.

In compiling its data, the DOT looks at reports of lost, damaged, delayed or pilfered baggage for major airlines.

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So which airline is the best when it comes to mishandled bags? For both September and the first nine months of 2016, Virgin America leads the pack.

Here’s the full list from the DOT for January through September:

1. Virgin America: 5,838 mishandled baggage reports; 1.01 reports per 1,000 passengers
2. JetBlue Airways: 40,217 mishandled baggage reports; 1.66 reports per 1,000 passengers
3. Alaska Airlines: 30,228 mishandled baggage reports; 1.71 reports per 1,000 passengers
4. Delta Air Lines: 171,120 mishandled baggage reports; 1.86 reports per 1,000 passengers
5. Spirit Airlines: 33,320 mishandled baggage reports; 2.26 reports per 1,000 passengers
6. United Airlines: 146,781 mishandled baggage reports; 2.58 reports per 1,000 passengers
7. Hawaiian Airlines: 20,509 mishandled baggage reports; 2.65 reports per 1,000 passengers
8. Southwest Airlines: 342,155 mishandled baggage reports; 3.04 reports per 1,000 passengers
9. Skywest Airlines: 74,066 mishandled baggage reports; 3.28 reports per 1,000 passengers
10. Frontier Airlines: 36,541 mishandled baggage reports; 3.42 reports per 1,000 passengers
11. American Airlines: 327,157 mishandled baggage reports; 3.54 reports per 1,000 passengers
12. Expressjet Airlines: 71,284 mishandled baggage reports; 4.41 reports per 1,000 passengers