Gatwick luggage crisis: More baggage delays expected as Swissport faces 'critical staff shortages'

The latest predictions follow delays at the airport last weekend when holidaymakers waited up to five hours for their bags

Airlines have warned travellers flying from Gatwick this weekend that they could run the risk of travelling without their luggage as the airport faces a critical shortage of baggage handlers.

On what could be one of the busiest weekends for air travel this year, staff shortages at the luggage handling company Swissport could potentially lead to a number of travellers arriving at their respective destinations without bags.

The Swiss-owned baggage handling service supplier provides assistance for airlines including British Airways, Virgin, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson but has come under fire of late due to a shortage of staff and poor service.

The worry for airlines is that this could be the tip of the iceberg, with many expecting the summer holiday period to be filled with instances of delays as Swissport struggle to cope with the demand.

According to The Telegraph, two airlines have already said they fear that the situation could get worse over the next four months, with the majority of airlines tied into contracts with Swissport until then.

The ominous forebodings come just days after a shortage in Swissport staff led to chaotic scenes in Gatwick’s baggage reclaim area at the weekend.

On Sunday, holidaymakers travelling with British Airways, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson and easyjet had to wait up to five hours for luggage, with other travellers being advised to go home where arrangements would be made to deliver their luggage to them.

Some of those passengers that were told to wait for their luggage at home, have still not received their bags - five days after the event.

Following the incident Swissport, made a public apology, saying the problems were caused by “a level of off schedule activity”, or planes arriving or taking off earlier or later than planned.

Swissport are under increased pressure after The Telegraph reported that Monarch Airlines have decided to cancel their contract with Swissport following problems over the last week.

A spokesman for Gatwick said that the airport was working with Swissport to ensure a better service in the future.

He said: “Gatwick is working closely with its airlines to improve the performance of Swissport in line with the airport’s own high standards of passenger service.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss