Essex

Stansted Airport baggage delays disrupt 'hundreds' of passengers

The front of London Stansted Airport. Image copyright London Stansted Airport
Image caption Stansted Airport said an influx of delayed inbound flights caused a shortage of baggage handlers

Stansted Airport passengers have complained of waiting for "hours" with hundreds of others to collect baggage and of long waits to disembark planes.

An airport spokesman apologised and blamed it on a "significant number" of delayed inbound flights due to fog.

Ryanair passenger Katriona Whelan said there were "hundreds, if not thousands" waiting for bags when she arrived on her delayed flight at about 02:00 BST.

"It's a pity they didn't have a plan for communicating with us," she said.

The passengers "just wanted to know when they were going to get their bags and could they have some water", she added, and "reasons for the delays and how long we would be delayed for".

Ms Whelan said that after her flight from Shannon had landed, the luggage carousels only began to move two-and-a-half hours later at 04:30.

About 30 delayed flights landed at Stansted between 00:00 and 03:00.

One passenger tweeted there was a queue of "almost 1,000 people" at baggage reclaim while another said she waited on a plane on the runway for two and a half hours before disembarking.

Ryanair recently changed its cabin baggage policy so that passengers who have not paid for priority boarding must leave their cabin case with staff at the gate to be put in the hold.

They must then collect their cases at baggage reclaim after the flight.

A spokesman for the airline said: "Following earlier weather delays on flights arriving into London Stansted, a number of aircraft landed outside of scheduled operating hours, which resulted in some handling delays.

"We sincerely apologise to affected customers and have asked our handling agent at Stansted, Swissport, to take the necessary steps to ensure this does not recur."

A Swissport spokesman said the delays "forced a significant number of flights to land outside of scheduled operating hours".

"We are working with our partners to enhance procedures which mitigate against situations like this occurring in the future."

Replying to passengers on Twitter, the airport said: "We're sorry to hear of your disappointing experience last night.

"Due to a significant number of inbound flights arriving late, passengers experienced delays receiving their baggage."

The service has since returned to normal.

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