Brits face huge airport chaos as suitcases abandoned after 8 hours of waiting

Passengers flying with travel agent TUI from Manchester Airport claim they were left in “utter chaos” this weekend after waiting hours for their checked luggage.

Brits say they were told their property would have to be delivered to their homes.

Holidaymakers who landed at Manchester Airport on Saturday shared videos of “hundreds” of suitcases that had been “abandoned’ in the luggage hall.

And, many say they waited hours for their own bags to be returned to them with many unable to collect it.

Dawn Brian, from Stoke-on-trent, landed in Manchester at around 9.50pm last night from Palma de Menorca.

She told MEN : “We were already worrying about what we were going to encounter when we landed but it was just utter chaos.

“We were waiting for our luggage for two hours and the belt on the carousel hadn’t even moved at all. It was horrendous.

“There were bags everywhere that had just been left abandoned from other flights.

“You could see they had come from places like Goa.”

After waiting for two hours, Dawn claims passengers were told they needed to fill out a form to have their luggage delivered to their homes.

She added: “They couldn’t tell us when we would get our luggage back but there were people there who were saying they had medication in their baggage.

“Someone said their house keys were in there and they couldn’t get into their house without them.

“We’ve got all sorts of stuff in our case that we can’t get to this morning, there’s nothing for us that’s desperate but for a lot of families there will be.

“When we spoke to a staff member, my husband asked why it was so chaotic and they said that there wasn’t enough staff to cope with the amount of queues.

“People were getting a bit fraught and frustrated, there were children crying and it was just absolute pandemonium.

“Unfortunately, we already have another holiday booked in Cyprus in September from Manchester but we will definitely choose to fly from somewhere else next time.”

Meanwhile, Vicki Bowdler, from Westhoughton in Bolton, arrived at Manchester Airport at 10pm on Saturday after being on holiday in Menorca with her eight-year-old daughter.

“Our flight was luckily only delayed by an hour but we then had to wait onboard at Manchester because there was no air bridge available for us,” she said.

“When we got off, we could see passengers from another TUI flight were already being told to report their baggage as delayed and to go home. We were told we would have a 30 minute wait for our luggage but every time everyone asked, it was always 30 minutes.

“Kids were getting hysterical, my daughter was panicking so a lovely couple came to help out and try to take her mind off what was happening as it was clear the bags were not going to arrive. We waited three hours until we were told at around 2am that we would have to fill out a form and go home.”

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The mum continued: “There was no communication whatsoever, we were just left waiting with this 30 minute promise that never came. It's a disaster waiting to happen down there with luggage just piling up, no staff to be seen and a whole load of rightly upset and angry passengers.

“There were babies with no prams, some with no change of clothes.

"No one should have to go through that on a way home, but certainly not kids who are tired after their time away and can't put into reason why all their belongings haven't come back with them. I feel for those now travelling over half term as I feel it is just going to be total bedlam.

“We have already booked with TUI for next year but I am tempted to cancel."

Duncan Smith was on the same flight, but was told there were no staff available to offload their bags until the morning shift started.

He said: “We were told there were no staff to recover our bags but a TUI flight from Gran Canaria landed at 01:56am and the bags were processed without delay onto the carousel we were waiting at.

"Turns out they did have staff in but chose to leave our baggage stranded whilst other flights arriving several hours later were processed.

“Our bags finally arrived just after 6:30am on Sunday – some eight and a half hours after landing. Communication and support from TUI and Manchester Airport was appalling – the baggage hall is a complete shambles, awful scenes.”

A spokesperson for Swissport said: “Half-term is always a busy time for airports, and we know that they, and our airline partners, are currently experiencing a number of challenges which often have a knock-on effect on our work. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, we have welcomed over 2,000 new colleagues to our business since the start of the year, but there have been some delays while we await the relevant security clearances.

"We understand how frustrating delays are for passengers so our staff will always try as hard as they can to find a solution. We will continue to collaborate with airports, airlines and other ground handlers to minimise disruption wherever we can.”

A TUI spokesperson added: "We would like to thank customers at Manchester Airport yesterday for their patience and understanding at this exceptionally busy time. We continue to work closely with airport staff and baggage handlers to ensure a smooth running of operations on the ground and minimise the impact for customers. The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and colleagues is always our highest priority."

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We are aware of challenges being faced by a number of airlines and handling agents, which is leading to delays at check-in and baggage reclaim for some passengers.

"Airlines and their ground handlers are responsible for their own check-in and baggage handling services. Passengers are advised to direct any questions or concerns about these issues, or anything relating to their flight, to their airline, who will be best placed to respond.

"However, this is not the experience we want passengers to have at Manchester Airport and we are sorry to hear customers have faced disruption.

"We are in contact with the senior management teams of the relevant airlines and ground handlers to understand the cause of these issues, and to support their efforts to resolve them as quickly as possible.

"Our colleagues are on hand in the terminal to provide assistance to customers and we are working hard to ensure security waiting times are as quick as possible.

"It remains our advice that passengers should arrive three hours before their flight and to be as prepared as they can be for their journey through the airport.”

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