British Airways passengers were left “baffled” on Monday night when their luggage failed to appear at baggage claim at Heathrow airport - and crates of frozen fish instead began to circulate on the conveyor belt.
Passenger Becca Braunholz, who was returning from a holiday in Larnaca, Cyprus, with her husband and two children, said that the blue boxes of fish began to appear on the baggage carousel at Terminal 5 shortly after their flight landed around 10pm.
Instead of suitcases coming round on the conveyor belt, she estimates that around 100 bright blue wrapped boxes appeared.
“It was just the weirdest thing,” Braunholz told the BBC.
“We thought our luggage was in the second wave of deliveries but it was just box after box of fish.
“Everybody was being quite British and polite about it but when more and more boxes started going round we all started to suspect something wasn’t right.”
She said they appeared to be marked with stickers that indicated they were bound for JFK Airport in New York.
Mrs Braunholz told The Independent that the blue boxes were “clearly labelled as fish, plus a code saying JFK,” leaving her wondering if they were “en route or had they come from JFK - or maybe JFK means something else in the world of fish cargo?!”
Her daughter tried lifting one of the blue crates, but found it too heavy to do so.
She said that BA staff were “perplexed” when alerted to the problem, and did not seem to know how the mix-up could have happened.
Eventually, passengers left without luggage were advised to go home and given claim forms to fill in.
“We just can’t fathom why, at some point, one of the people loading these boxes of fish didn’t think ‘This can’t be right for Terminal 5’... it’s baffling,” she added.
A British Airways spokesperson said that most customers on the flight received their baggage as normal, while the airline has been reuniting those who did not with their luggage.
“We’ve apologised to our customers and we have been reuniting them with their luggage after realising that something fishy was going on,” said a spokesperson.
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