‘My husband’s life-saving medication was lost for weeks in Heathrow’s baggage meltdown’

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He said: “My friend and I flew from Birmingham to Dublin to Los Angeles on Jun 16 via Aer Lingus. The Dublin to LA leg was delayed by an hour and yet somehow our luggage still didn’t make it on the flight.” 

Mr Markey said he and his friend did not see their luggage until eight days after they landed, during which time all attempts to reach the airline ended in failure. 

The pair spent an estimated £300 replacing lost toiletries and clothes, which Mr Markey is sceptical they will be compensated for. His luggage was lost a second time on the return flight.

‘I spent my 40th birthday shopping for everything I’d lost’

Esther Erixzon, 40, had been travelling across Europe for her honeymoon. Though her husband’s luggage arrived safely, her suitcase, which contained an expensive engagement ring, did not.

“There were hundreds of suitcases lying around on the floor in the baggage claim hall,” she said. The couple spent three hours queuing for assistance and searching for the lost suitcase. 

She added: “We were in London to celebrate my 40th birthday but instead I spent the morning trying to find things to take on our honeymoon.” 

A week later, Swiss Air informed Ms Erixzon her luggage had still not been found and she now assumes her belongings will ever be returned. 

“The value of my bag exceeds the compensation my insurance would pay,” she said. “Plus there’s the emotional value and distress that can’t be paid for.”

‘I’ve not slept trying to sort this out’

The issue has also ruined tourists’ trips. Teresa Salahuddin’s family, from California, landed in Edinburgh only to be told by Dutch airline KLM no luggage had been loaded onto their connecting flight in Amsterdam.

Ms Salahuddin’s husband suffers from hypothyroidism and high blood pressure – and his medication was in his suitcase.

She said her husband had not taken his medication in two weeks, and her children had been “cheated out of a vacation”.

She added: “We bought clothes that we will never wear. I’ve missed tours, food and sleep trying to sort this out. All the airline does is apologise and thank me for being patient.”

‘We’ve gone back to Australia without our belongings’

Angie Matchett, 45, from Perth, Australia, flew from Edinburgh to London via Belfast, but delays meant they only had half an hour to board their connecting flight. “We just assumed our checked luggage was being transferred from one plane to the other,” she said.

The family’s luggage was still lost three days later. Ms Matchett said the group returned to Australia with only hand luggage.

“We can’t look for the bags ourselves,” she said. “Now we are at the mercy of Aer Lingus to show some competence and get our luggage back to us.” 

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said it was airlines’ responsibility to manage lost luggage and airport handlers are also contracted through airlines rather than airports. They said the airport was working in collaboration with airlines.

A spokesman for Swissport, the company that manages luggage for Swiss Air, apologised for its part in the disruption, adding it had recruited 3,500 new staff in the UK since the start of the year.

“Airlines, airports, and aviation services all work together to deliver different elements of a single passenger journey and in busy periods the knock-on effects of delays stemming from one part, such as airport technical issues, security queues and late changes to flight schedules can lead to disruption in others,” they added.

Aer Lingus and KLM did not respond to requests for comment.


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