Hundreds of travellers at Gatwick airport were advised to go home without their luggage, as “resourcing issues” led to major baggage delays in the early hours of Sunday morning.
According to reports, Gatwick airport’s baggage reclaim area was filled with disgruntled passengers waiting for their luggage, with some reporting that they had to wait over five hours until their bags arrived.
Other passengers were advised by the airport’s Twitter account to go home and were assured that arrangements would be made to ensure their luggage was delivered to them.
Officials at the airport informed passengers of British Airways flights who had waited more than an hour on their bags being returned, and those on Monarch, Thomas Cook or Thomson flights who had been waiting 90 minutes or more, that their luggage would be forwarded to their home address.
It is understood easyJet passengers have also been affected but had not been advised to leave without their baggage.
It is believed that staff shortages with the airport’s biggest luggage handler Swissport was the reason for the delay.
Those travellers outraged by how long they had to wait hit Twitter to voice their annoyance.
Will Bower tweeted: "Pulling an 'all nighter' with my 700 friends at Gatwick North Terminal Baggage Reclaim, bring water."
Jim Corbett posted: “Three hours later I've got my bag. Your baggage service is actually a joke. Genuinely could've wheeled my bag home by now
In a statement by a Gatwick airport spokesman, he said that situation was caused by Swissport, the world’s largest cargo and luggage handling, suffering “resourcing issues”.
He added that: "Gatwick has provided extra staff to help the airlines and their baggage handlers improve their service, as well as providing welfare and water for passengers waiting in the baggage areas, but we are sorry for the delays they have faced."
Swissport were not immediately available for comment when approached by The Independent.
It is the second time in recent months that Gatwick have had to apologise for delays with their baggage reclaim services.
In June, Gatwick had to apologise after travellers waited 90 minutes to collect their luggage.
Again, a spokesman for Gatwick blamed staff shortages at Swissport were the reasons behind the delay.
Additional reporting PA