Most major Airlines have an app that you can track your bags. Ramp agents use scanners to scan every bag (or at least that is what is suppose to happen).
It is rare that a bag is never recovered. Delayed YES, never found, not to often.
What you need to be aware of is what is NOT covered if your bag is never found, which are many.
Airlines have conditions of carriage that will dictate the amount you are entitled to.
3500 dollars is the max for most major airlines domestically unless you take out insurance on you bags, which only covers if it is lost not damaged.
Many items are not covered at all.
Some things that might be not be covered include:
And many other things.....all in the conditions of carriage.
Be aware of thing you pack in your bags. Some homeowners insurance may cover some additional items. Some credit cards you used to purchase tickets may have some additional coverage. Travel Insurance also will cover some items.
If you do make a claim, be honest. I had customers tell me they had 2 mink coats and a solid gold toothbrush in July. REALLY? The airlines are reasonable but if you make blatantly false statements, you claim will not be taken as serious.
Know before you go!
Enjoy the Journey!