BRITS have been warned travel luggage chaos could last MONTHS as bags today piled up at Gatwick Airport.
Suitcases were today abandoned by travellers returning to the Sussex airport after they waited for them for more than an hour.
Families desperate for a summer holiday have this weekend faced travel chaos with massive queues at airports and to get on ferries from Dover.
And the nightmare is feared to be just beginning with chaos and confusion over luggage gripping UK airports in the first summer holiday since 2019 not hampered by Covid restrictions.
It is also the first unrestricted summer since Swissport, the company that provides baggage handlers and check-in staff to some of the busiest airports in the country, announced that they were cutting their UK workforce by almost half.
The company blamed the economic impact of the pandemic, saying it was worse for the aviation industry than either the 2008 crash or the 2010 volcanic ash cloud.
Not even the offer of £35 per hour for new baggage handlers has eased the backlog.
Staff shortages saw bags pile up at Gatwick and long queues at other busy airports such as Stanstead and Bristol.
Passengers in Scotland were warned earlier this month that luggage delays could continue for months due to a lack of baggage handlers.
While bags pile up at airports, cars are stuck in queues stretching miles up at sea ports on the South Coast as thousands of families try to get to Europe for well-earned summer breaks.
Queues of up to 30 hours for ferries were reported as Folkestone was dubbed Britain’s “hotspot of holiday hell.”
Travel experts have warned that delays were likely to get worse before they get better.
Speaking to the Common’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee, a union representative pointed the finger at aviation firms.
Oliver Richardson, Unite National Officer for Civil Air Transport, said that there was a “correlation” between airlines that have cancelled large numbers of flights this summer and those who have made significant job cuts in recent years.
“For example, Ryanair were very clear, we negotiated an agreement with them, the basis of the agreement was no redundancies.
“So they are in a different position from the likes of British Airways, who went through fire and rehire.”
British Airways and Easyjet have cancelled the most flights and also top the list of most redundancies, with 10k and 2k respectively.