‘It really is unacceptable’: Mayhem erupts at Manchester Airport due to staff shortages

Manchester Airport: Staff shortages causing huge delays

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One holidaymaker slammed Manchester Airport after she was forced to wait more than two hours to collect her bags. 60-year-old Alison Unwin even noted uncollected bags in Terminal 3 left by their owners who decided they had had enough of waiting.

Alison, her husband Paul and their 25-year-old son landed at Manchester Airport on a Ryanair at 5:16pm on Saturday.

They had enjoyed a relaxing sunshine break in Tenerife but were greeted with chaos back home when their bags didn’t come through until 7.30pm.

Having already booked a taxi home from the airport, Paul decided to take the cab back to the family home in Macclesfield rather than incur further charges and then returned in his own car to pick up his family and bags.

Alison shared pictures and a video of the baggage reclaim hall, which appeared to display uncollected bags from previous flights.

She said that the dates on the attached tags indicated the bags had arrived on flights the day before, on Friday.

She told the Manchester Evening News: “There are bags everywhere from days before.

“It really is unacceptable.”

She added: “They’ve got tickets on them dated yesterday. If I wanted to I could just walk off with one of those bags.

She described a scene of mayhem at the airport.

“There are abandoned pushchairs, car seats, golf clubs and suitcases strewn around from yesterday.

“Nobody has taken charge of them. They are just left there.”

For some, the disruption was more than an annoyance.

Alison reported: “There’s a girl here with cystic fibrosis and the enzymes that she needs are in her suitcase.

“There are people here with a little baby and they’re waiting for their car seat. Obviously they can’t drive home without it.”

She added: “My husband has gone home in a taxi and he’s going to come back in the car to pick us up. That’s how ridiculous it is.

“I think if you enter into a contract to take someone away on holiday and look after their bags, for people to have to leave their bags and go home is terrible.

“Everything people need is in those bags, what they need for work. You should not offer a service if you can’t provide it.”

Manchester Airport was approached for comment and reiterated a previous statement regarding airport chaos: “We apologise to passengers whose experience today at Manchester Airport has fallen short of the standards they expected.

“As we recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, our whole industry is facing staff shortages and recruitment challenges. As a result we are advising customers that security queues may be longer than usual, and we encourage them to arrive at the earliest time recommended by their airline.

“Due to the security checks and training associated with these roles, it takes time to for people to be able to start work in our operation. That is why we are exploring a number of short-term measures to deliver the best possible service we can, such as the use of agency staff and different ways in which existing colleagues can support our operation.

“We are aware similar challenges are being faced by airlines and third parties, such as baggage handling agents, operating on our site. Together, we are working hard to deliver the best possible service we can in the circumstances, and to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.”

Karen Dee, Chief Executive, Airport Operations Association, oversees UK airports.

She gave BBC Breakfast viewers tips on how individuals can minimise disruption and delay when flying.

“Check with the airline you are flying with because they will not want people arriving before they are permitted to check-in.

“Make sure you’re looking at the types of documents that you need because that will speed through your check-in too.

“When you’re approaching security, think, ‘Do I have liquids?’, ‘Do I have a laptop?’ – all of those things that we’ve actually forgotten about because we haven’t travelled for so much time.”

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