Chaos at Heathrow as passengers wait hours to collect their bags before Border Force strikes

Airlines told by aviation regulator to ‘look after their passengers’ in upcoming Border Force strikes (PA Wire)

Hundreds of passengers crossing through Heathrow Airport are facing “chaotic” waiting times and missing luggage, frustrated travelers have said.

On Monday morning, some holidaymakers reported excessive queues to drop off their bags.

“Chaotic” scenes on Sunday saw passengers having to wait several hours to collect their luggage, while dozens of people said their belongings had not reached their destination.

British Airways customers were hardest hit after high winds on Sunday made it difficult for baggage handlers to quickly unload their bags.

One passenger tweeted: “Heathrow Airport is in shambles. No ground staff available to moor plane so passengers sit for hours on plane after landing. No baggage handlers either. Hundreds of people wait for their suitcases for hours.”

Another said: “After three hours of waiting for our bags at baggage claim, we have now been told to go home and submit a lost baggage report while our bags are still sitting on the plane. It’s absolute shambles.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said responsibility for baggage and aircraft turnaround rests with the airlines.

A BA spokesperson said the airline was “doing everything possible to reunite our customers with their delayed baggage as soon as possible”.

It comes as more than 1,000 Border Force workers are set to strike from Friday until Boxing Day and then from December 28 until New Year’s Eve in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The exit will affect passport control offices at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports over the Christmas period, when more than 10,000 flights are due to land.

Passengers have been warned that they could face delays of several hours after landing.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have limited ticket sales for flights to Heathrow in a bid to minimize some of the disruption on strike days.

A government spokesman said: Military personnel, civil servants and volunteers across government are being trained to support Border Force at UK airports and ports in the event of a potential strike.

“Border Force is ready to deploy resources – to meet critical demand and support the flow of travelers across the border, but those entering the UK should be prepared for possible disruptions.”

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