TEN minutes after he landed at Gatwick, Malcolm Senior's socks went flying over his head. While Mr Senior, from Twickenham, was at ground level, they were at 30,000ft, heading for Manchester, along with the rest of his luggage.

Mr Senior's sorry saga began at Geneva airport last Saturday morning, when the British Airways flight to Gatwick was delayed by two and a half hours. This gave his luggage plenty of time to find its way on to the wrong flight. But since BA has frequent flights from Manchester to Heathrow, a few miles from Mr Senior's home, he assumed that once the bag was traced it would be a simple matter to fly it south and take it round to his house.

However, it turns out that lost baggage must always be sent to the original destination, even if this is inconvenient for everybody. 'We'll put it on the first flight out to Gatwick in the morning,' the airline told Mr Senior.

But next day his luggage failed to board the first flight, and instead took off at about midday. And after it arrived in Gatwick, it spent 10 more hours circulating the M25 (according to the BA lost-luggage people) before it was reunited with its owner.

'My socks could have walked home more quickly,' complained Mr Senior.