Want to know how bad the luggage gridlock has become at London Heathrow? So bad that Delta Air Lines operated a special Airbus A330-200 filled with over 1,000 pieces of passenger baggage as part of its effort to reunite passengers with their luggage (and reposition an aircraft).
Delta Air Lines Baggage Flight From London: 1,000 Bags, No Passengers
Heathrow is currently overrun with travel demand as the busy summer travel season has been met with insufficient ground staff staffing. The result is that thousands of travelers have been separated from their bags, sometime for several days.
Earlier this week, Delta dispatched an A330-200 to London, filled it with over 1,000 bags, then flew it to Detroit (DTW). From Detroit, the bags were further transported across the USA to their owners.
Delta described the move as a “creative solution” to “accelerate movement of delayed bags.”
The move comes as Heathrow has enacted a flight cap of 100,000 passengers departing each day through September 11, 2022, blaming its choice on a shortage of ground handlers:
“We started recruiting back in November last year in anticipation of capacity recovering this summer, and by the end of July, we will have as many people working in security as we had pre-pandemic. We have also reopened and moved 25 airlines into Terminal 4 to provide more space for passengers and grown our passenger service team.
“New colleagues are learning fast but are not yet up to full speed. However, there are some critical functions in the airport which are still significantly under resourced, in particular ground handlers, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turnaround aircraft. They are doing the very best they can with the resources available and we are giving them as much support possible, but this is a significant constraint to the airport’s overall capacity.”
It isn’t clear, yet, how many airlines will respect the demand by Heathrow to curtail flights. This flight, however, came before the new passenger limit went into effect and while laudable, Delta had to get back the flight to Detroit anyway…it just made sense to fill the plane with bags.
My advice remains to leave the checked bag at home unless you really don’t need it, which would then beg the question why you would bring it in the first place.
> Read More: Pack Light And Don’t Check Bags This Summer…
Checked baggage is so backlogged at London Heathrow that Delta felt the need to take advantage of a flight cancellation to dispatch a special baggage flight filled with over 1,000 bags. With Heathrow conceding it is unable to cope with the all the summer traffic and baggage handling (an airline function) facing understaffing, you may wish to consider connecting through another airport in the next few months if your tickets are not already booked.