This does not surprise me at all, though I suspect that the affected earnings may have to do more with the additional cost of handling the baggage complaints, than the increased security. Here is my own experience…
I have recently returned from a vacation where my (and my girlfriend’s) luggage was lost on the way to Scotland by British Airways. We were not the only ones on our flight with this experience- in fact there was a line-up of people who were missing bags. Incredibly, my sister, who was also traveling on British Airways on different dates, also had her baggage lost. But in her case it was on her return flight to Canada. I have had airlines lose my luggage before, but in my previous experiences it has taken the airlines one or two days to get the luggage back to me. In this case it took four days; which is not a fun way to start a vacation.
The worst part about arriving somewhere with no luggage is that you have no toiletries or change of clothes, and the ban on gels and liquids just aggravates the situation as it has forced you to check-in pretty much everything. So the day after arriving, instead of getting to play tourist, we went shopping- wasting one of our seven days in Scotland at the local mall.
Having returned home from our holiday, we now have go through the fun process of claiming money back from British Airways. Even though it is clear that they lost our bags and that we only claimed 150 British pounds between 2 of us(not an unreasonable amount considering that 2 people did not get bags for 4 days); British Airways is telling us that it takes 6-8 weeks to process the claim.
So, I don’t know how much additional money the security threats cost the airlines, but certainly the cost of finding the luggage, delivering it to its destination, and compensating clients, who have had their trips affected by lost luggage, must be a substantial sum.
Here are a couple of pointers about luggage:
1- Tag your luggage properly. This means to have a tag around the handle of your luggage and also your name and address inside the bag- just incase the baggage handling tag gets ripped off- I usually leave a business card in one of the pockets which includes my cell phone number.
2- Keep your receipts, if your luggage gets lost and you do have to buy clothes, toiletries, or anything else make sure to keep the receipts, because when you go to claim money back the airlines will ask for them.
3- Pack anything valuable in plastic bags- when my sister got her luggage back finally after three days, the suitcase, and all of the contents, were completely soaked. She had some photographs which would have been ruined had they not been wrapped in plastic.