Travel Chaos May Be Even Worse Than Feared As Bags Thrown To The Wind
A baggage handler from Heathrow Airport has told the British news outlet the BBC that travelers should avoid checking a bag at all as the chaos is even worse than it appears. His statements come as lost luggage was found thrown away at a Dublin Airport.
It’s no secret that the travel industry is being wracked with problems, turning flying into a dismal game of chance. Delays and cancellations are no longer exceptions but unfortunate expectations, while most tourists wait with bated breath at the carousel, wondering if their luggage has made the trip with them.
And while every traveler is aware of the risk, it’s possible that most are still underestimating the likelihood of their baggage disappearing.
The BBC conducted anonymous interviews with several members of staff at London’s Heathrow, one of the busiest airports on the planet, to help understand the situation behind the scenes.
One baggage handler who has worked at the hub for over twelve years spoke of how chaotic working at the airport is at the moment. He claims things have never been this bad, far worse than the problems faced by a massive Icelandic volcano explosion back in 2011.
According to the handler, staff shortages are a major factor, but they’re being compounded by outdated technology and systems. He’s even more concerned about school holiday surges and claims he’s terrified to go on vacation himself, stating “the chances of your bag making it are very slim.”
Airport infrastructure is lagging, something admitted by the airport, and the handler says, “there are not enough baggage belts for the amount of flights. You could be waiting half an hour for a belt when a flight comes in. Within that half an hour, another flight will come in, which makes it 10 times worse. It’s disheartening when you walk out and see all the passengers.”
Of course, London isn’t the only city affected. Extreme cases of baggage losses are being seen around the world. Across the Irish Sea in Dublin, photos have emerged of passengers’ lost baggage thrown into trash cans and dumps.
In photos released by UTV, an Irish subsidiary ITV of The baggage was located at one of the warehouses used by handlers to store missing bags when the airport capacity is maxed out. The photos came from another anonymous source at a site used by the handler Sky Handling.
The company claims they were disposed of because they contained perishable materials that went against customs rules and were going off, increasing the likelihood of attracting vermin. It claims that the bags were mistakenly taken to the warehouse after customs set the luggage aside because of the perishable items. It’s unclear how the mix-up happened.
Passengers are now being allowed to visit the warehouses to search for their luggage, but journalists have been denied entry to the facilities. Some customers have been successful in finding their belongings, while others have not been as lucky.
The process of seeking compensation for lost luggage can be a complicated one. Passengers are generally entitled to up to $3500 for lost items if they can prove they were worth that much. Different passengers have had varying degrees of success with this, and the process can often be lengthy. People have reported losing wedding dresses, valuable souvenirs, and even cash in their lost bags.
Travelers should avoid checking bags where possible for the foreseeable future. Smart packing can make carry-on flying the best way to go and avoid lengthy delays at the airport. If it’s not possible to without a checked bag, ensure that nothing valuable is kept in that bag. Bring cameras, laptops, and other expensive tech in your carry-on, and if it can’t fit, then go without it. Packing a few changes of clothes in your carry-on is also good practice.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Friday 5th of August 2022
My bag was lost nearly a month ago on an American Airlines flight. What's worse is the baggage tag was on the baggage claim belt, but no longer attached to the bag which makes finding it nearly impossible. I was told they have 45 days to find it...I don't have much hope.