Passengers at Manchester Airport have been left in “utter chaos” after being told to leave their travel bags behind to collect later, only to be told they will need to be sent home
Image: Dawn Brian)
Hundreds of passengers were left waiting hours for their bags behind after TUI problems caused travel chaos at Manchester Airport yesterday.
Abandoned suitcases were ditched in baggage halls after flyers were told to leave their luggage behind to collect later, only to be told it would have to be delivered to their homes.
Dawn Brian, from Stoke-on-Trent, was one of the passengers left in turmoil after landing from Palma de Menorca just before 10pm last night.
She was left waiting for two hours before being told they would need to fill out a form to have their luggage delivered.
“We were already worrying about what we were going to encounter when we landed but it was just utter chaos,” Dawn told the MEN
“We were waiting for our luggage for two hours and the belt on the carousel hadn’t even moved at all. It was horrible.
“There were bags everywhere that had just been left abandoned from other flights. You could see they had come from places like Goa.
“They couldn’t tell us when we would get our luggage back but there were people there who were saying they had medication in their baggage.”
Dawn said someone was left panicked as their house keys were in their baggage and they couldn’t get into their home without it.
She added: “We’ve got all sorts of stuff in our case that we can’t get to this morning, there’s nothing for us that’s desperate but for a lot of families there will be.
“When we spoke to a staff member, my husband asked why it was so chaotic and they said that there wasn’t enough staff to cope with the amount of queues.
“People were getting a bit fraught and frustrated, there were children crying and it was just absolute pandemonium.
“Unfortunately, we already have another holiday booked in Cyprus in September from Manchester but we will definitely choose to fly from somewhere else next time.”
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Vicki Bowdler, from Bolton, arrived at Manchester Airport at 10pm on Saturday after being on holiday in Menorca with her eight-year-old daughter.
She said: “Our flight was luckily only delayed by an hour but we then had to wait onboard at Manchester because there was no air bridge available for us.
“When we got off, we could see passengers from another TUI flight were already being told to report their baggage as delayed and to go home.
“We were told we would have a 30 minute wait for our luggage but every time everyone asked, it was always 30 minutes.
“The kids were getting hysterical, my daughter was panicking so a lovely couple came to help out and try to take her mind off what was happening as it was clear the bags were not going to arrive.
“We waited three hours until we were told at around 2am that we would have to fill out a form and go home.”
Vicki slammed the lack of communication saying they were left waiting for ages without any update.
She added: “It’s a disaster waiting to happen down there with luggage just piling up, no staff to be seen and a whole load of rightly upset and angry passengers.
“There were babies with no prams, some with no change of clothes.
“No one should have to go through that on a way home, but certainly not kids who are tired after their time away and can’t put into reason why all their belongings haven’t come back with them.
“I feel for those now traveling over half term as I feel it is just going to be total bedlam.”
She added that she is booked with TUI for another trip next year, but has been so put off that she’s tempted to cancel.
Duncan Smith was onboard the same flight as Vicki and claims they were told no staff were available to get their bags off the flight until the morning shift.
He added: “Turns out they did have staff in but chose to leave our baggage stranded whilst other flights arriving several hours later were processed.
“Our bags finally arrived just after 6:30am on Sunday – some eight and a half hours after landing.
“Communication and support from TUI and Manchester Airport was appalling – the baggage hall is a complete shambles, awful scenes.”
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A spokesperson for Swissport said: “Half-term is always a busy time for airports and we know that they, as well as our airline partners, are currently experiencing a number of challenges which often have a knock-on effect on our work, exacerbating existing capacity challenges.
“We understand how frustrating delays are for passengers so our staff will always try as hard as they can to find a solution.
“We will continue to collaborate with airports, airlines and other baggage disruption handlers to minimize wherever we can.”
A TUI spokesperson added: “We would like to thank customers at Manchester airport today for their patience and understanding at this exceptionally busy time. We are continuously working with airport staff and baggage handlers to ensure a smooth running of operations on the ground.
“The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and staff is always our highest priority.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.