‘Huge carpet of luggage’ at Heathrow terminal as UK airports buckle under pressure
Airline passengers have been hit by disruptions for several months, with the situation worsening due to increased demand due to the school holidays and the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend
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Shocking images of a “huge carpet of luggage” in a Heathrow baggage hall show the ongoing pressure British airports are facing as travel chaos rages on.
Passengers across the country have complained of mass disruptions, with long queues outside terminals and many having lost hundreds of pounds due to missed flights.
The disruption has lasted for several months, with the situation worsening due to increased demand triggered by the six-month school holiday and the four-day school holiday Platinum Anniversary Weekend.
A huge collection of abandoned bags was seen at Heathrow, piled up in a baggage hall, awaiting collection.
The scene was captured by Sky News defense and security correspondent Deborah Haynes as she exited Heathrow’s Terminal 2 after an early evening arrival from Brussels.
She said: “The warning signs that all was not well were clear at baggage claim.
“There were clusters of unowned suitcases clustered around various conveyor belts.
It comes as the airline industry suffers from staff shortages after laying off thousands of people during the coronavirus pandemic.
London’s Gatwick Airport announced on Friday that it is reducing the number of daily flights during the busy summer period to address staffing issues.
EasyJet said it was reviewing “the details” of the cap but insisted it expects to be able to reaccommodate “the majority” of passengers should their flight be affected.
An airline spokesman said: “We are aware of the capacity cap announced by Gatwick Airport and are now looking at the details to assess what this means for easyJet’s operations at Gatwick. We recognize the need for Gatwick Airport to do this as airports
Europe has an overview of all airlines and is well placed to decide what capacity is realistic in the current difficult operating environment so that all airlines can offer reliable services to their customers.
“Given the high frequency of our services to and from Gatwick, we expect to be able to reaccommodate the majority of customers should their flight be impacted by the cap.”
Nicole Venglovicova, 31, has missed three different flights from Heathrow to Belfast and is concerned she won’t get a refund of around £500 she spent trying to organize air travel.
“I had a breakdown, I cried from stress outside the airport,” Ms Venglovicova, a freelance video producer from London, told reporters.
“I arrived at the airport for my morning flight and Flybe told me the queue is huge so I have to run.
“When I finally got through security, my boarding pass didn’t work…the gate was still open at the time.”
When Ms. Venglovicova went back to reception to explain the problems with her boarding pass, “the staff started arguing with security.”
When she was able to return to her gate, it was closed and no one was there.
“The problem I had was that they should have told me that I would miss my flight because of the queue and I (should have) immediately booked a later flight to continue.
“But instead they send me (back) to security and let me miss my flight and I had to go through the arrivals hall and look for my luggage, which they didn’t even put on the plane.”
It took another two hours to collect her luggage and make her way back through security, which meant she missed two more flights that could have caught her to Belfast.
“I thought I might get one this afternoon, and then I saw the line was all the way to the parking lot and I couldn’t see the end,” she said.
“Then I had a breakdown and just went home.
“It makes no sense. Domestic flight to Belfast and when do I need to get to the airport? Eight hours earlier?”
Liverpool’s Mick Lyon said his time at Manchester Airport on Friday was “very frustrating”.
As the 39-year-old traveled home from Paris, he said passengers had been queuing outside the terminal as passport control barriers closed.
“I travel for work and fly most weeks and Manchester Airport is certainly the worst experience at any airport,” said Lyon.
“I literally needed someone to open the barriers so people could line up in an orderly manner… it could have easily been avoided by opening the barriers,” he added.
Airports and airlines are under increasing pressure to cope with the influx of holidaymakers going abroad.
Gatwick Airport plans to limit its number of daily flights to 825 in July and 850 in August, compared with 900 daily flights over the same period in previous years.
It comes after a busy anniversary holiday week which saw more than 150 flights canceled across the UK on the eve of the anniversary.
Downing Street welcomed Gatwick to reduce flights “so they can realistically deliver over the summer”.
A No 10 spokesman said: “We want everyone to be able to travel freely and easily, which is why we continue to encourage the industry to step up their recruitment so that they can provide enough flights for families looking forward to their well-deserved vacation after the.” Pandemic.”
Business Secretary Paul Scully previously suggested that one solution to the airport chaos is for employees to work longer hours if they so choose.
He told Sky News: “We really want to work closely with the airports and the airlines to make sure they’re doing everything they can and see what else we can do.
“There’s a record number of vacancies – 1.3 million vacancies across the country in all kinds of sectors – but there are also people who have recalibrated what they want to do while on holiday.
“We want to make sure that people who aren’t necessarily working full-time can get back to being more productive through Universal Credit when that suits them, and of course match them to the sectors that have such vacancies.”
When asked if that means people are working longer hours, he said: “I’m not talking about forcing people to do anything, but we just want to make sure it’s a right fit so only those people can work longer hours – who want to work longer – can.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/enormous-luggage-carpet-heathrow-terminal-27265987 'Huge carpet of luggage' at Heathrow terminal as UK airports buckle under pressure