Europe’s airport baggage chaos hits KQ operations

A Kenya Airways plane.

Photo credit: File

The effects of baggage processing hitches in main European airports have hit Kenya Airways operations, leaving hundreds of its passengers highly inconvenienced by delays in transfers of their checked-in belongings including bags and suitcases.

There have been significant baggage system failures at London’s main Heathrow airport since last weekend. The hitch has been blamed for a huge pile-up of luggage at the airport’s Terminal 2 since last Friday.

Some passengers complained of two-hour waits at baggage reclaim their luggage London gateway facility, while others were left without luggage at all and had to fly without their bags.

Flights from Schiphol, Amsterdam, and other European airports are also facing a challenge with processing bags due to a shortage of workers.

This chaos has affected Kenya Airways and other airlines servicing key routes in Europe amid piling frustrations by thousands of travellers.

“This has affected the processing of baggage in time to reach flights before they depart and unfortunately several customers’ bags have been delayed. It has also affected most airlines and the baggage transfers from other airlines to Kenya Airways,” said KQ chief commercial and customer officer Julius Thairu.

“We are working with all affected airports and doing everything we can to ensure that customers’ bags are put onto the first available flights. Once the baggage arrives at the destination airport, our team will arrange delivery with a courier service to the addresses provided.”

Mr Thairu said the airline would assist passengers affected by the chaos to purchase essential items until their baggage is delivered.

UK airports have been hit by a series of travel disruptions since the onset of the peak summer travel season amid a heavy shortage of workers, leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights. Critics said the UK travel industry failed to plan for the upsurge in passenger traffic after two years of disruption during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some analysts have linked the chaos to Brexit, saying it has led to a lack of EU workers in the UK, although the UK government had downplayed the claims.

Some airlines in Britain such as TUI and EasyJet have even taken drastic steps and cancelled dozens of flights a week to improve customer service and reliability on remaining routes. EasyJet has even removed some aircraft seats to cut crew sizes.

But the airport chaos is not just in the UK alone. Scenes of chaos have been witnessed at some European airports such as Dublin, Ireland, and Schiphol, Amsterdam over the last week as people have started to venture abroad, sparked by a shortage of bag handlers, security, and airline staff that led to huge queues, missed flights and furious customers. 

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