WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- Complaints have plunged more than 50 percent since the U.S. government imposed tighter safeguards on airline baggage, federal records indicate.
Claims to the Transportation Security Administration for missing or damaged belongings dropped from 26,500 in 2004 to 11,700 in 2009, USA Today reported Thursday.
Installing cameras in rooms where luggage is screened is one of the ways TSA has lowered baggage theft and damage, the newspaper says.
Another method involves the installation of "hands-free" conveyor belts that move suitcases past airport screeners into bomb scanners.
"Every time you handle a bag, you've got a great opportunity for baggage theft and baggage damage," says consultant Michael Boyd.
Miami International Airport spent $2.7 million to add cameras and conveyor belts. The move resulted in a drop in claims from 941 in 2004 to 369 in 2009.
Last year, TSA paid out $343,000 in nationwide claims compared to $3.2 million in 2004.