Thousands of passengers suffer Heathrow airport Terminal Five chaos as baggage system breakdown causes massive queues
Thousands of passengers suffered chaos at London Heathrow Airport today after long queues built up following a baggage system breakdown.
Some British Airways travelers said they faced queues at the Terminal Five bag drop of up to two hours which saw them miss their flight.
The problems happened one day before the school holidays start and amid threats of a summer of strike action that could ruin holidaymakers’ flying plans.
Comedian Eddie Izzard was among those tweeting about the issues, saying: ‘I hope BA can get this moving soon as passengers have been waiting a long time now.’
Cancer nurse Mary Tanay said she had to be booked onto a later flight thanks to the chaos, tweeting: ‘What a truly stressful morning for all – staff and passengers alike.’
Passenger Christian Avison tweeted: ‘It’s bedlam at T5, bag drop is not working. Lots of staff just stood around, they could do with helping manual bag tagging.’
Victoria Fishpool added: ‘British Airways, can you advise me as to why the Club queue at Terminal 5 has taken over half an hour and we are still not moving?’
The airline told passengers on Twitter: ‘Due to a baggage system issue, it’s taking us longer to accept baggage than we’d like.
‘Our team at London Heathrow are approaching passengers and helping those who have imminent departures. We appreciate your patience whilst you wait.’
London Heathrow Terminal Five facts
- Opened: 2008
- Cost: £4.3billion
- Area: 353,020 square metres
- Passenger capacity: 35million people a year
- Construction staff: 60,000 people
- Baggage conveyer belt: 11 miles
- Luggage capacity: 12,000 bags an hour
- Baggage reclaim belts: 44
And a BA spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We are sorry and working hard to help minimize disruption after a baggage system issue has slowed down customers dropping off their bags. All our flights are operating as normal.’
A Heathrow spokesman added: ‘The BA baggage processing system in Terminal 5 has experienced a fault this morning meaning bags are being processed slower than usual.
‘Other terminals at Heathrow have been unaffected and we are supporting BA to resolve this issue as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.’
The baggage issues came as tens of thousands of Ryanair passengers had their holiday plans thrown into doubt after its pilots threatened to go on strike.
The British Airline Pilots Association said its members will soon vote on whether to walk out following a row over pay and working conditions.
The Unite union is also threatening to use strikes to shut down Heathrow and cause ‘check-in chaos’ for Easyjet passengers at London Stansted in the coming weeks.
Terminal Five has been plagued in the past by issues with its baggage system, with a power surge causing it to stop working two years ago in July 2017.
The surge in the National Grid outside of the airport caused the system to be suspended and staff had to manually check-in passengers’ bags.
There were also problems in June 2014 when passengers were left without their bags after a technical fault left luggage piled up in the departure lounge at Terminal Five.
Hundreds of bags were lined up in the terminal after the 30 miles of conveyor belts which usually move 12,000 bags a day for BA were put out of action by an IT fault.
Terminal Five famously had a disastrous opening in 2008 when almost 300 flights in and out were canceled and 15,000 bags were stranded in its first five days.
Issues with car parking and delays in getting staff through security screening resulted in a backlog of baggage which meant severe delays and cancellations.