- A baggage handler at London Heathrow says this summer’s travel chaos is the worst they’ve ever seen.
- The anonymous handler told the BBC they were “petrified” to go on holiday due to travel disruptions.
- They added that the chance of bags making it to their destinations was “slim.”
A baggage handler at London’s Heathrow airport has said the chances of passengers’ bags making it to their destinations are “very slim.”
The handler told the BBC that the situation at Heathrow, one of Europe’s busiest airports, was “a shambles” and “manic.” They added that the disruptions made them afraid to travel.
The BBC said the baggage handler was employed by an airline and had been based at Heathrow for more than a decade. Speaking anonymously, the handler said this summer’s travel chaos was the worst they’d seen in their career.
“I’m petrified to go on holiday,” they said. “I would not want to be transferring now — the chances of your bag making it are very slim.”
The baggage handler said the issues came from a mix of staffing issues, low investment, and old technology. They added that some baggage sorting systems in Heathrow were about 40 years old.
“There are not enough baggage belts for the amount of flights,” they said. “You could be waiting half an hour for a belt when a flight comes in. Within that half an hour, another flight will come in, which makes it 10 times worse.”
“It’s disheartening when you walk out and see all the passengers,” they told the BBC.
A spokesperson for London Heathrow told Insider: “We aren’t responsible for airline ground handlers or air crew — both work directly for airlines.”
“We agree that some airlines need to invest in their ground handlers, the main constraint on capacity at Heathrow is a lack of airline ground handlers.”
They said: “We have been warning some airlines for months that this capacity constraint needed addressed but there has been no change in the number of airline ground handlers since January 2022.”
“We recognize that the baggage system in T2 is old – that’s why we want to replace it and have urged the CAA to allow us to invest in a new system as part of the next regulatory settlement,” the spokesperson added.