UK travel disruption continues as Easter weekend approaches, with reports of long queues at Heathrow and Manchester airports on Monday.
As travel experiences roll in, there’s nothing worse than watching the minutes tick by in a stationary queue, trying to figure out if you’ll be able to get to your door before the train leaves. flight.
But finding out your luggage has been lost is also a reality, and it’s a reality that many UK holidaymakers have faced in recent days.
“Hundreds of passengers across the country find themselves separated from their luggage for hours or even days as baggage claim areas pile up,” said Paul Stewart, managing director of baggage transportation company My. Baggage.
“Many have been asked to submit missing baggage claims, which could mean weeks before the airline sends their belongings by courier.”
What’s behind baggage problems at UK airports?
This is another ripple effect of the recent staffing issues at major UK airports. Baggage handlers have struggled to keep up with the sudden influx of tourists since the removal of Covid restrictions. Airlines – who are responsible for your luggage – laid off thousands of employees at the start of the pandemic, and are now struggling to rehire them in time.
A Reddit user, who says he works ‘on the baggage side’ at Manchester Airport, wrote last week that ‘far too many people’ have been made redundant ‘instead of just keeping them off at the start’.
Now, they say, the whole place is operating with a small crew.
Early departures and low wages make it difficult for airlines to attract new employees, who then have to go through weeks-long security checks.
An airport spokesperson told Euronews Green: ‘We are doing everything we can to recruit the number of colleagues we need to support the remobilization of our operations after the biggest crisis our industry has ever seen.
Searches for “lost luggage” peaked last week in the UK, according to Google Trends data for the past 12 months.
Photos of piles of abandoned suitcases shared on social media are the flip side of the coin. Some travelers have decided to leave their belongings behind for the night rather than stay an extra hour staring at an empty conveyor belt.
If you’re having baggage separation issues, here are some handy tips to help you get your items back.
Lost baggage? Keep calm and call your airline
“If your baggage doesn’t show up at the destination airport, the best thing to do is stay calm,” Stewart says.
“There are many options that can make a big difference in dealing with lost baggage, the most important being reporting the problem to your airline immediately as you are more likely to get compensation.”
Be sure to leave your contact details when you call the airline so they can keep you up to date. Most airlines, including easyJet, will deliver your luggage to your home if it is delayed or lost.
In some cases, if your travel or home insurance also covers lost luggage, Stewart suggests it may be more efficient to file a claim that way than through the airline your flight was on.
Travel light and travel with hand luggage
That’s easier said than done for some vacationers, but packing less could be part of the solution. Only hand luggage can reduce waiting times at check-in and baggage claim.
Packing smarter will also give you more peace of mind. Try to put your electronics and other valuables like jewelry in carry-on luggage, so you can keep an eye on them.
British Airways advises this at best – as it accepts no responsibility for valuables, cash or documents lost in checked baggage unless you declare it to be of higher value at the airline counter. check-in and you pay an additional fee.
It may also be worth getting travel insurance before the trip which covers the loss of valuables during your trip.
And should your luggage ever get lost, you’ll thank your old self for packing essentials like toiletries and spare underwear in your carry-on.
Could a baggage courier service be the answer?
As a baggage carrier, MyBaggage has a horse in this race. But a courier service is looking increasingly attractive to Easter travelers who want to avoid at least some of the queues.
“Using a baggage handling company allows passengers to travel knowing that their baggage will be waiting for them at their destination, and can more than half the wait times because they can avoid queues and ever-increasing wait times for baggage claim,” says Stewart.
For a 20kg suitcase from your home to a hotel in Spain, for example, the company charges £36 (€43) for delivery in three to four days, which may well be cheaper than checking a bag on the airline you are traveling with. .