Recently, Delta Air Lines was required to transport 1,000 lost luggage that were delayed in England due to technical issues with Heathrow’s baggage handling system from London’s Heathrow Airport to Detroit while carrying no passengers at all.
The airline said on Wednesday that it used a plane that was already in London but was scheduled to return to the United States empty due to Heathrow capacity issues.
Following several automated baggage handling system faults, Heathrow has been engaged in luggage chaos in recent weeks. The majority of the technical difficulties are confined to Terminals 2 and 3. Terminal 3 at Heathrow is where Delta is based.
A few weeks ago, images of what was referred to as a “carpet of luggage” outside Terminal 2 went viral as Heathrow ran out of room to store delayed and lost luggage. Additionally, delayed luggage has on multiple instances been kept outside of Terminal 3.
Staffing shortages and cargo hold capacity restrictions on flights departing from Heathrow have made the issues worse.
When the chance arose, Delta managed to return a sizable amount of delayed luggage all at once.
“Delta teams worked a creative solution to move delayed checked bags from London-Heathrow on July 11 after a regularly scheduled flight had to be canceled given airport passenger volume restrictions at Heathrow,” a spokesperson for the Atlanta-based carrier said on Wednesday.
According to the spokeswoman, none of the bags had to be put in the passenger cabin like some airlines had to do for freight during the pandemic because they were all kept in the cargo hold of the aircraft.
A big airline has had to hire an aircraft previously only to transfer delayed baggage, so this is nothing new. Following the outsourcing of baggage handlers to outside ground handling businesses, Australian flag airline Qantas has been experiencing its own high-profile luggage issues.