After waiting for hours for their bags to be offloaded off planes, at least 2,000 passengers arriving on British Airways flights at Heathrow airport on Saturday evening were instructed to dump their belongings.
When it became clear that the luggage would not arrive, fatigued and unhappy travellers were told they had no choice except to leave the airport without their stuff.
The problem was thought to be caused by a massive manpower deficit, which impacted the entire British Airways operation.
Others stated they arrived on schedule on flights to Heathrow but were held on the plane for hours because no one was available to connect jettys or steps.
— clayre gribben (@clayrebash) March 19, 2022
Passengers on departure flights were also delayed in certain cases due to a lack of employees to carry luggage onto planes.
“British Airways failed to deliver 1000’s of pieces of luggage at T5 and now their website is down so you can’t make a claim,” Alec Wilkinson said on Twitter on Saturday. Steve Regis said he had been left “stranded” by British Airways and labelled ground staff “embarrassing”.
The new incident occurs only weeks after British Airways experienced a severe IT outage that stranded thousands of travellers for days.
The outage was so severe that BA decided to cancel all of its short-haul flights for the day and dispatched security guards to turn away disgruntled passengers at Heathrow Airport.
After customers began venting their frustrations on front-line employees, a union representing BA’s check-in staff and gate agents stated its members were spat at and subjected to homophobic slurs. To get out of Heathrow without being swamped by furious passengers, several personnel had to change out of their uniforms.
The IT breakdown occurred just days after British Airways experienced yet another baggage mishap, which the airline blamed on Storm Eunice.
Thousands of travellers were instructed to depart Heathrow without their possessions and instead file a lost property claim on the BA website as a result of that incident.
Because of the large number of passengers affected, the BA website failed due to an influx of consumers attempting to log on.
High winds, on the other hand, were exacerbated by a serious manpower shortage that is hurting most front-line departments.
Despite a large recruitment push, the airline is having difficulty hiring new employees and is now encouraging employees to ‘volunteer’ in other departments.
Some critics believe the current staffing problems may be linked back to the beginning of the pandemic when British Airways was dubbed a “national shame” after laying off thousands of employees and attempting to fire and then rehire many more on dramatically reduced terms and conditions.