Heathrow chaos as passengers wait hours to retrieve bags ahead of Border Force strikes
Hundreds of passengers flying through Heathrow Airport face "shambolic" wait times and missing bags, frustrated travellers have said.
On Monday morning some holidaymakers reported excessive queues to drop off luggage.
“Chaotic” scenes on Sunday saw passengers having to wait several hours to retrieve their bags, while dozens of people said their possessions did not arrive at their destination.
British Airways customers were the worst impacted after strong winds on Sunday made it difficult for baggage handlers to offload luggage quickly.
Queues at Heathrow to get to baggage drop are incredible. We've waited more than 2 hours to move no more than 30 metres. There must be a real shortage of airport staff.
— Vipul Khurana (@twvipper) December 19, 2022
One passenger tweeted: "Heathrow Airport is in absolute shambles. No ground staff available to dock the plane so passengers are sitting for hours on the plane after landing. No baggage handlers either. Hundreds of people waiting for their suitcases for hours."
Another said: "After three hours of waiting for our suitcases at baggage reclaim we have now been told to go home and submit a lost luggage report while our bags are still sat on the plane. Absolute shambles."
A Heathrow spokesman said the responsibility for luggage and turning around aircraft lies with airlines.
A BA spokesman said the airline was "doing everything we can to reunite our customers with their delayed baggage as soon as possible".
It comes as more than 1,000 Border Force workers are set to strike from Friday until Boxing Day, and then from December 28 until New Year’s Eve in a dispute over pay and conditions.
The walk out will affect passport control desks at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports during the Christmas period when over 10,000 flights are scheduled to land.
Passengers have been warned they could see delays of several hours after they land.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have limited ticket sales for flights to Heathrow in a bid to minimise some of the disruption on strike days.
A Government spokesman said: Military personnel, civil servants and volunteers from across government are being trained to support Border Force at airports and ports across the UK in the event of potential strike action.
“Border Force are ready to deploy resourceâ¯to meet critical demand and support flow travellers through the border, however those entering the UK should be prepared for potential disruption.”