Thousands of holidaymakers are believed to be without their luggage after a power failure at Heathrow airport disabled the electronic baggage systems.
The airport said it was working hard to reunite passengers with their bags as quickly as possible, after the second incident in the space of about a month that left many passing through Terminal 5 unable to fly with their suitcases.
One passenger said that while he managed to get his bags on the plane as hand luggage, many others did not.
Fintan Gormley, a member of the Baku Celtic supporter’s club (Baku CSC) who was flying home to Azerbaijan to watch his team play a pre-season friendly, said: “It was very bad. Luckily, I managed to get a massive bag on as hand luggage. It was full of the Baku CSC shirts, so we couldn’t afford to leave them. I heard everyone else on the same connection [have not] got their bags yet.
“They told me I would need to put the bag on as hold luggage and wait in another queue for an hour and a half. I managed to argue through and take it as carry-on. Many didn’t have the same luck though. There is baggage missing in Baku tonight.”
Heathrow is murder today, problems with baggage belts. Ditch your hold luggage if you can, or show up very early….
The power cut is thought to have happened between 7am and 10am BST. A spokesman for the airport said: “This morning, Terminal 5 suffered a loss of power due to an issue with our supplier. Power has now been restored. However, the baggage system has been im-pacted. We apologise and are working hard to resume a full service, and reunite passengers with their bags as quickly as possible. Flights are continuing to operate as normal.”
A source said that the problem was likely to have meant that “around three or four thou-sand” bags would have to be sent on after their owners, although the airport could not give a precise number of people left without their luggage.
Marcel Maier, 35, who was travelling to Hamburg, said: “The queues are long and chaotic, but I’ve just had to leave my baggage with the staff and hope that it arrives.
“I am not confident it will arrive today, the airport isn’t sure either, so that is definitely go-ing to cause me frustration,” he told the Daily Mirror. “People are really frustrated, and it’s crazy just looking at the piles and piles of bags everywhere.”.
A spokesman for British Airways said: “Heathrow’s baggage system in T5 experienced difficulties today due to an earlier power outage in the terminal. Heathrow Airport is work-ing hard to restore a full baggage system. We are sorry for the delays this has caused and are doing everything we can to maintain our normal baggage services.
“Where we were unable to get bags on to the same flights as customers we will put them on to the next flight and courier them to customers as soon as possible free of charge.”