Travellers told ‘don’t bring luggage’ in desperate bid to tackle airport chaos


Bringing hand luggage can reduce delays and limit the chance of missing luggage (Picture: EPA)

People have faced widespread disruption while trying to go abroad in recent weeks (Picture: LT1Media)

Holidaymakers have been advised to travel with only a small bag or a rucksack to avoid chaos at UK airports.

Industry experts say passengers should consider taking hand luggage that can be brought onto the plane rather than anything that needs to be checked in the hold, as this will reduce delays and limit the chance of luggage going missing.

People have faced widespread disruption while trying to go abroad in recent weeks, with many having to return to the destination airport days after arrival to retrieve their baggage. 

Bringing hand luggage only would mean that holidaymakers would have to buy toiletries and sun cream either abroad or in duty free shops before departure.

However, experts say it’s ‘one less thing to worry about’.

Andy Prendergast, national secretary of the GMB union, said: ‘If people can check in online and do not take [large] bags, that limits the disruption. It’s not a magic bullet but it does reduce the chance of there being problems.’


Airport queues

Holidaymakers have been advised to travel with only a small bag or a rucksack to avoid chaos at UK airports (Picture: EPA)


Baggage queues

Some travellers have waited eight hours for their luggage (Picture: Rhea Ashworth)

Paul Charles, chief executive of the PC Agency, said that where possible, ‘passengers should consider packing lightly and travelling with a small bag they can take on board the aircraft’.

It comes as airlines were accused of wasting police time after footage emerged of officers escorting holidaymakers off an ‘abandoned’ plane that could not take off due to staff shortages.

Police also had to be drafted in to Manchester Airport to tell furious customers waiting at the gate that their entire holiday had been cancelled.

A Home Office source said it was an ‘appalling waste of police resources’ and that airlines needed to ‘get a grip’.

‘They can’t expect the state to repeatedly bail them out. This is all a problem of their own making. They treated staff appallingly through the pandemic. They didn’t innovate and didn’t come up with solution but just came complaining to the Government,’ the source said.


Tony Brown @tonyprod77 ? 7h Just landed at @Gatwick_Airport and some people in the #baggage reclaim say they have been waiting for bags for more than two hours. Gatwick Airport

Some people took to sleeping on the conveyor belts amid lengthy baggage waits at Gatwick Airport (Picture: tonyprod77)


Baggage queues

Michele Farmer’s luggage left on the floor at Bristol Airport after her flight to Naples with Easy Jet was cancelled (Picture: PA)

Airlines are facing acute staff shortages, including baggage-handling contractors, as many left the industry after being laid-off during the pandemic.

Employers are struggling to lure them back into a job that unions described as ‘low paid and with poor conditions’.

The government is refusing to bail airlines out – citing the billions of pounds they were given to stay afloat during the pandemic.

But ministers are facing calls to step in from industry chiefs and opposition MPs.

More than 150 UK flights were cancelled on the eve of the Platinum Jubilee weekend yesterday, with easyJet scrapping at least 31 flights at Gatwick and British Airways axing another 124 short-haul flights from Heathrow.

377 flights have ben cancelled in the last week according to flight data specialists Cirium, affecting around 56,000 people.

Labour has accused ministers of being ‘asleep at the wheel’, while the Liberal Democrats have called for the army to be deployed to ease queues at airports, ports, and on roads.

However, Tansport Secretary Grant Shapps,, who held a meeting with industry bosses yesterday, insisted the government has ‘done its part’ and airlines now had to ‘do their bit’.

He accused airlines and travel companies of causing the chaos by ‘seriously overselling flights and holidays’ that they are not able to deliver.

He said: ‘I understand the resourcing strains on the aviation sector but it does not excuse poor planning and overbooking flights that they cannot service. The companies who have seen the most disruption need to learn from those who ran services smoothly.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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