When we approached the Cairo baggage claim, we saw a prominent list of passenger names. Happily our names weren't on it, for these were people whose luggage missed the flight and would be arriving later (one hopes). We felt their pain, however, since American misplaced our baggage a few days earlier on our return from Palm Springs. We wasted 30 minutes waiting for bags that didn't even make it on the plane.
Why don't U.S. airlines follow the Cairo example and let passengers know their luggage is delayed? In this age of bar codes and tight security, they should be able to match bags to passengers. Why not post a list at the airport to prevent wasted waiting? Or go further and notify passengers while they are in the air? You could fill out paperwork about where to deliver the luggage, if necessary, without wasting time waiting for bags that will never come.
(The title of this post comes from a column (and book) of the same name by Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff who ask "why not" about things that could be better.)