This is officially the UK’s worst airport for lost luggage

One London airport accounted for over half of all Civil Aviation Authority cases between 2018 and 2022

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton
Contributing writer
Baggage carousel at Heathrow airport
Photograph: 1000 Words /

Airports are stressful at the best of times. But possibly the worst scenario of all is when you head off on hols and your luggage just vanishes, at no fault of your own. The swimsuit you bought especially for swimming in the Med? Gone. The childhood teddy bear that you bring everywhere? Not coming back. 

Between 2018 and 2022, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) dealt with over 1,500 cases of Brits’ lost luggage. There were in fact a lot more cases than that, but the CAA only deals with issues that can’t be resolved by airlines themselves. In other words, these were the very worst cases. 

Luggage experts at Bounce analysed data from the CAA following a Freedom of Information request and discovered which British airports are the worst offenders when it comes to losing or misplacing luggage.  

London Heathrow was revealed as having lost the most baggage. Nearly half (49.68 percent) of all cases dealt with by the CAA were at Heathrow while London Gatwick, which ranked second worst, only represented 17.74 percent of lost property instances. 

The third biggest culprit was the UK’s third biggest hub, Manchester Airport with 16.13 percent of the cases. Fourth was London Stansted with 8.87 percent and fifth was Birmingham with 5.24 percent. 

It’s worth noting that the list of airports with the most lost baggage claims with the CAA also roughly corresponds with a ranking of the UK’s biggest air hubs. If London Heathrow has the most passengers, it sort of makes sense that it also loses the most bags. But while Heathrow has about half of all the country’s lost baggage cases, it also doesn’t account for half of all the UK’s total air passengers. So, you be the judge.  

Alongside its findings, Bounce shared a few tips for if you ever find yourself suddenly without a suitcase. They include reporting immediately, clarify that you want it delivered to you if/when it is found and keep hold of your receipts so you can be reimbursed on the items you had to replace. You can claim for lost luggage and get a refund if your bags haven’t been delivered within 21 days.

The best and worst of British aviation 

Flying is a big business, so naturally there’s always some kind of research looking at where our airports thrive and how they can do better. Whether it’s the most expensive parking, the worst hub for flight delays or the busiest terminals, Time Out brings you all the latest findings so you can plan ahead. Plus, here’s a handy guide to how you can skip the dreaded security queues at Heathrow.

ICYMI: Revealed: the UK’s worst hotel chain

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out UK newsletter for the latest UK news and the best stuff happening across the country.

You may also like
You may also like