Piles of ditched suitcases at Manchester Airport after travel chaos

‘All my medication and cables for charging my phone were in my bag,’ says man who received luggage one day before leaving the country again

Lucy Thackray
Wednesday 06 April 2022 15:29 BST
Manchester Airport grinds to a halt with queues following weekend delays

Photos of piled up, abandoned suitcases at Manchester Airport have emerged following days of slow queues and hours-long waits for baggage.

Disruption, which airport management say has been caused by staff shortages when scaling up operations in the wake of the pandemic, reached boiling point yesterday.

Passengers at Heathrow, Birmingham and Dublin airports have all reported similar delays in recent weeks, with airlines at all four advising passengers to arrive as early as possible before departure and to have hand luggage security-ready.

Some even asked customers to keep hand luggage to a minimum to avoid long waits.

Last night, passengers took to Twitter to complain about the disorganisation at the northern hub.

“Chaos at T2 arrivals @ManAirport this evening, Luggage stacked everywhere from flights offloaded way after passengers had left. Rumours doing the rounds they were told to collect it tomorrow from the airport? Despite my flight being the only arrival into T2, 1.5 hour wait,” wrote Paul Griffiths.

“An hour and a half delayed coming back from Fuerteventura plus two-hour wait for our luggage at Manchester Airport,” tweeted an exasperated Andrea Colley.

Meanwhile, “No dispatcher was available to meet the flight [and] the arrivals hall was full of what appeared to be abandoned luggage,” said Alan Price of his welcome to the airport.

Many complained of having to ditch their luggage at the airport after two or three-hour waits for cases to be unloaded from their flight.

Passenger Perry Freeman told Manchester Evening News that he had landed in Manchester on Friday but only received his luggage back on Monday evening - a day before his return journey.

“It’s been a nightmare. We have to pack our cases tomorrow for heading home.

“It was a waste of time coming here. There’s not much you can do without your gear. All my medication and cables for charging my phone were in my bag.”

The left-luggage graveyard comes after weeks of complaints about long queues and slow security lanes, amid a general staff shortage.

However, the check-in and security situation seems to have improved this morning. Irish journalist Niamh McDermott tells The Independent: “I’m here now and I got through security in seven minutes.”

Last night the managing director at Manchester Airport, Karen Smart, stepped down from her role amid the furore.

A Manchester Airports Group spokesperson said: “Many companies in the aviation sectors are facing resourcing challenges at present, including third-party service providers on our site, such as baggage handling agents.

“On rare occasions, where an extended wait for baggage reclaim is expected, passengers are offered the opportunity to return home and have their luggage delivered to them by courier.

“Such baggage is set aside in a secure area, staffed 24 hours per day, to be collected. As it has been screened at its point of origin and is stored in a security-controlled area, it is not deemed to be a security risk.”

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