Manchester Airport passengers report major baggage delays over weekend


A number of passengers flying into Manchester Airport this weekend said they were greeted on arrival by severe baggage delays caused by IT problems.

Passengers have been in touch with the MEN to share their experiences – including one woman who left the airport to go back home to Sheffield without her luggage and another who claimed she waited four hours before getting their belongings.

Worst hit were those traveling on the TUI flight from Turin to Manchester on Sunday afternoon (February 6).

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Having boarded the plane at 4.50pm local time – four hours after their intended departure – the pilot addressed passengers to apologize for the long delay.

Passenger Dylan Renshaw claims the pilot told them there had been a ‘serious failure and systematic breakdown of the baggage system at Manchester Airport’.

“The pilot explained that our four-hour delay was because of the knock-on effect of the problems they’d had in Manchester,” Dylan, from Derbyshire, told the MEN

A number of TUI flights arriving at Manchester Airport this weekend faced travel or baggage delays

“As a result of that, we had no hot food available on the flight and we received no communication from the airline or airport whatsoever during this time.”

Arriving in Manchester just after 6pm, passengers on board the TOM2727 flight ended up waiting more than an hour and a half before they were informed their baggage was not going to be offloaded.

“There must have been around 300 passengers stood for nearly two hours before someone from the baggage reception told us they couldn’t offload the bags,” Dylan explained.

“They said no baggage handlers had been allocated to the flight. They didn’t have anyone to help us.

“The staff member said they were extremely short-staffed and none of the staff that were made redundant during Covid had been replaced.

“They told us that all we could do was fill out a form and our bags would be delivered back to us within the next two days and then just walked off and left us.”

Manchester Airport denied any claims they were understaffed, saying they were fully staffed throughout the weekend.

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Dylan said he then decided to contact flight operator TUI directly in a bid to get his baggage.

I added: “About 30 minutes later, they eventually found someone to offload the plane.

“At this point, half the passengers had already gone home and left their bags.

“By the time we got our bags, it was around 9pm and three hours after landing. We’d been waiting for our bags longer than the flight had been itself.”

“They have a responsibility to ensure the airport is being run efficiently and properly.

“It’s expected that delays will happen from time to time but it’s a complete and utter shambles when things are being run as inefficiently as this.

“I should have been home by 5pm but I didn’t get back until quarter to midnight. It’s ridiculous.

“If you can’t operate basic functions of an airport then don’t schedule flights.”

Dylan said there were other passengers who had struggled as a result of the delays.

Passengers’ luggage for the Turin flight was later dropped off – three hours after landing at Manchester Airport

“One woman was getting upset because she had medication in her luggage that she needed that evening,” Dylan said.

“Another woman missed her connecting flight to Stockholm altogether.

“There was just no communication or assistance. I’ve been to Manchester Airport three times in the last six months and this is the worst I’ve ever seen it.”

Helen Oxley was also on board the same flight as Dylan.

Traveling as a party of six, they had to leave their baggage at the airport because the delays had meant their minicab back to Sheffield had been waiting for almost four hours.

“We’d been skiing for a week in Italy and by the time we got home last night, we’d been traveling for about 14 hours constantly,” Helen said.

“When we arrived at Manchester, there was just nobody around.

“We waited around for our baggage to come and then an hour and a half later someone mentioned we needed to fill in forms to get our luggage delivered.

“We couldn’t wait any longer because there were only two iPads for people to fill out – the queue was ridiculous.

“We left and decided we’d fill out the forms online at home as our driver was waiting.”

Passengers complained of long waits for their luggage at Manchester Airport

Helen said she has since – with some difficulty – filled out the forms online and hopes she will receive her luggage shortly.

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“We’ve got six suitcases full of skiing ware that’s quite brand new and expensive – it’s not just a few t-shirts and a pair of shorts,” she explains.

“We’re just hoping we’ll get it back. It’s not really the best way to end a great holiday.”

Passengers on board other TUI flights at the weekend also experienced some difficulties with delays.

Also on Sunday, Gareth, from Bradford, was collecting his nephew and wife from Manchester Airport following a TUI flight from Sharm El-Sheikh.

Arriving just after 10.30pm, the couple, who live in Scarborough, did not get their luggage until two hours later.

“I got to the airport just as the plane was landing really,” Gareth said.

“It wasn’t until 12.30am that they’d finally got their cases.

“They went straight through security and passport control without any problems and then were left just standing waiting at the baggage carousel for two hours.

“Nobody from the airport or the airline was there to confirm anything. They were just completely left in the dark and had no clue what was happening.

“When we’d finally got back to the car, we’d just ticked over two hours parking and it cost £30 – it was ridiculous.

Passengers reported baggage delays at Manchester Airport over the weekend

“I don’t know what the problem is, whether it’s something to do with the airport or the airline but it just seems ridiculous to me.”

Nicola Brown-Buckley, from Rochdale, arrived at Manchester Airport on Saturday afternoon after a week in Geneva.

She said there were delays from the moment her TUI plane touched down.

“We had to wait easily around half an hour to be able to disembark,” she said.

“Staff weren’t ready with the exit gate door so we had to wait for them to get people and get it set up.

“We then spent another 45 minutes waiting in security. There was hardly any staff, it was horrendous – the queues were worse than Alton Towers at peak season.”

Nicola said they were also then sent to the wrong baggage carousel before being told to go to a different one.

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All in all, she estimated she spent two hours waiting before getting her luggage back.

“There were no updates, no communication or anything,” Nicola added.

Tui apologized to customers affected by delays at the weekend

“I appreciate things are different with Covid but they knew how many people were expected to be coming through the airport at the time.

“This is the first time I’ve flown at Manchester Airport since the pandemic. I’ve flown at London and Heathrow and they were a damn sight better than Manchester.

“Manchester just seems horrendous at the moment and it seems to be down to a lack of staff.

“We’re hoping to travel to Rome in a few weeks’ time and I’ll be looking at flights elsewhere.

“I will not be traveling from Manchester because I just don’t want that hassle there and back.”

In a statement, Manchester Airport said it apologized to affected customers and would be looking into the issues that led to some delays at the weekend.

The airport added they experienced some technical difficulties, which were quickly resolved, on Saturday.

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear that some passengers were disappointed with their experience when traveling through Manchester Airport at times over the weekend.

“We experienced some IT issues on Saturday morning, which caused a small number of delays. These issues were resolved as quickly as possible, and the impact on the operation was minimized.

“We are also aware some people experienced delays receiving their baggage on their return to Manchester, and we will be working closely with the airlines concerned – and their appointed handling agents – to understand what led to these issues.”

Flight operator TUI apologized to customers affected by the delays.

A spokesperson for TUI said: “We’d like to apologize to customers whose flights and baggage were delayed on a small number of our flights returning to Manchester Airport this weekend.

“We did everything we could to resolve this as quickly as possible with the airport and our handling agent, but we understand how frustrating this was and are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

Swissport, the ground handling company contracted by TUI at Manchester Airport, added: “We would like to apologize to those passengers who experienced baggage delays at Manchester Airport.

“These were due to an airport IT outage which severely impacted baggage operations. We have worked with our airport partners to remedy the delays and normal service has resumed.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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