GOP Rep demands explanation of Dulles Airport luggage problems

GOP Rep demands explanation of Dulles Airport luggage problems
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Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats MORE (R-Va.) is demanding answers about a report that found Dulles International Airport is leading the nation is luggage loss claim payouts. 

Comstock, whose district includes Dulles, said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that she is concerned the airport is far ahead of nearby Ronald Reagan National and Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International airports in the number of payouts to passengers who file luggage claims. 

"I was disturbed to read media reports that Dulles International Airport has the highest loss claim payout rate of the nation’s 30 busiest airports," she wrote. 

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"This is especially alarming with the rate being close to 50 percent higher than Baltimore Washington International Airport and surpassing Reagan National Airport by over 150 percent," Comstock continued. "These numbers represent thousands of additional complaints regarding broken, lost, or stolen luggage or items as well as $3 million in compensation to affected individuals and families." 

Dulles is the 23rd-busiest airport in the nation, and it processes about 21 million passengers annually. 

Comstock, who is a member of the House Transportation Committee, pressed Johnson for answers about the Transportation Security Administration workers at Dulles who have access to passengers' luggage. 

"I would appreciate you providing us with all the available information as to why Dulles has earned this undesirable distinction, is this problem still occurring, has it been stopped and, if so, with what certainty," she wrote. 

"I would also appreciate answers as to the specific types and number of items that were lost, stolen, or damaged, how many claims are still pending, were there or are there any patterns, was this problem with specific Transportation Security Administration workers and, if so, what is their status now," Comstock continued. "All travelers deserve to know their personal items, especially those items that can’t be replaced, will be treated with care and kept safe." 

Comstock added that "it is essential that passengers and those who conduct trade via air travel have confidence in our aviation network.

"For years Dulles has served as an economic driver for our region and a means to cultivate international business," she wrote. "Reports such as this threaten the very viability of Dulles, which is already facing challenges."