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Welcome to Dulles. Now, about your luggage ...

Dulles Airport is No. 1.

But it's not the distinction the struggling hub was looking for.

Out of the nation's 30 busiest airports, the Transportation Security Administration has paid out the most money for claims of lost, broken or stolen luggage at Dulles, according to a joint analysis from WUSA9 in Washington and USA Today.

Located in eastern Loudoun, Dulles International Airport had 7.6 claims of lost or damaged items per 1 million passengers, the analysis found. That compares with 5.2 claims per million at Baltimore's international airport and 2.9 at Washington's Reagan.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.-10th) said she's disturbed by WUSA9/USA Today's findings, which were released earlier this month. She quickly penned a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson noting her displeasure.

“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,” Comstock wrote July 7. “Reports such as this threaten the very viability of Dulles, which is already facing challenges. In addition to this being a local and personal concern to me, it is also a professional one as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee.”

In Dulles alone, the claims payout was approximately $68,000.

The first-term representative wrote that she expects answers and explanations from officials for why Dulles fared so poorly in the analysis, especially compared to the region's two other main airports.

A spokesman for Comstock's office said they have not heard a response from Johnson's office as of July 14, but the congresswoman plans to tour Dulles and meet with TSA agents in August.

Dulles has been grappling with a substantial dip in passenger totals and billions of dollars in capital debt in recent years.

Responding to the claim payout report, the TSA issued the following statement: “2.5 million pieces of baggage go through security screening every day. Of these, less than one half of one percent result in a lost or damaged baggage claim. Very few are found to be the result of misconduct.”

“TSA takes the issue of baggage claims very seriously," the TSA statement reads. “Overwhelmingly, passengers do not experience any issues with their baggage. More 2 million, passengers and approximately 2.5 million pieces of baggage go through security screening every day nationwide. Of these, less than one-half of one percent result in a lost or damaged baggage claim. Every claim is thoroughly investigated. Approximately 55 percent of claims are denied as a result of the investigation."

The TSA recently came under new leadership, with Administrator Peter Neffenger taking the helm July 4.

Neffenger's agency is charged with overseeing security at 450 airports, 65,000 employees and the Federal Air Marshal Service.

The claim payout report seems relatively minor compared to a TSA internal investigation this year that revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s airports. Through that investigation, which was first reported by ABC News, investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of the tests.


A letter, oh my!

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