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Baggage piled up at Dublin Airport during the summer. Michelle Hennessy/The Journal
Travel

Luggage issues continue at Dublin Airport as passengers report delays and lost bags

Airlines and handlers have said the situation has significantly improved since the early summer chaos witnessed at the airport.

PASSENGERS ARRIVING INTO Dublin Airport have continued to report issues with their luggage, with some complaining of long delays while others have been told their suitcases are lost.

Following an early summer of travel chaos at the airport, airlines and luggage handlers were called to a meeting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee in late July to explain their part in the disruption.

At the time there were almost 4,200 lost bags at the airport, almost half of which were the responsibility of Sky Handling Partner (SHP). Airlines Aer Lingus and Ryanair handle 80% of luggage arriving into the airport, while SHP and another handler Swissport handle around 10% each. 

Passengers in recent weeks have continued to report issues with lost bags and delays at the baggage collection area.

David Blevins Sky News’ Senior Ireland Correspondent, complained about the luggage delay at the weekend. He said there were hundreds of people in the baggage hall who had arrived from various US locations and there “hadn’t been one bag on a belt in the last 45 minutes”.

Another passenger who arrived at the airport on Sunday complained of a one hour wait for baggage, noting that hundreds of people from other flights had been waiting longer. He said there were “pockets of abandoned luggage everywhere”.

One man who arrived into the airport yesterday said many parents had been left without buggies for their small children following a flight from Faro.

While some passengers have reported that lost bags were returned to them in a matter of days, a small number have said they are still waiting weeks after their journey.

 One passenger who managed to get her luggage back shared an image of the Sky Handling Partners holding area last week:

Although Dublin Airport itself receives many complaints about the delays or lost suitcases, the airport has no responsibility for handling the luggage that passes through. A spokesperson declined to comment on the current situation.

The Journal asked each of four companies that have responsibility for handling luggage at the airport for an update on their operations.

A spokesperson for Swissport said it is currently dealing with between 250 and 300 lost bags and anticipates that number will “come down quickly”. RTÉ reported this week that the luggage handling firm reduced its workforce by 44% during the early stages of the pandemic.

Staffing was raised as one of the major contributing issues when airlines and handlers appeared before the Oireachtas committee over the summer. The committee heard that staffing issues at some European airports meant baggage due to be transported to Dublin was not being loaded and that many experienced workers in Ireland had left their roles during the pandemic for “more stable employment”.

Aer Lingus did not provide any fresh figures for lost bags, but said its situation regarding baggage has “improved significantly” and that instances of lost baggage are now back to pre-pandemic levels.

“The majority of the baggage issues that were experienced during the recent summer period were caused by disruption and resource issues at International airports, particularly in Europe and the UK, resulting in bags not being transferred onto our airline,” the airline told The Journal.

“While this was outside of Aer Lingus’ control, we understand the concern and frustrations felt by our customers whose bags have been impacted. We assigned additional resources and worked hard to try to resolve the issues and repatriate baggage to our customers.

“Our team on the ground worked closely with all the relevant third-party handling agents to retrieve delayed or misdirected baggage as quickly and efficiently as possible. ”

A Ryanair spokesperson said the airline is experiencing “zero baggage issues” at Dublin Airport.

“Ryanair operates over 3,000 daily flights (many to/from Dublin) and leads the industry with the fewest lost bags,” they said.

Ryanair is experiencing zero baggage issues at Dublin Airport as we use our own dedicated baggage handlers, unlike other airlines who are encountering significant baggage delays and losses due to using third-party handling providers who handle for multiple airlines and are experiencing considerable staff shortages.

Sky Handling Partner said in a statement:

“The vast majority of the bags that were reported as delayed in July have now been returned to their owners.

“While we are continuing to see some passengers arriving into Dublin without their bags, the outstanding baggage cases we are dealing with at this stage primarily relate to people who live overseas and who have left Ireland to return home without their baggage.

“We are continuing to work through outstanding baggage claims by delivering bags to their owners or offering people the option of collecting their bags in person from our facilities at Dublin Airport.” 

Have you experienced issues with your luggage at an Irish airport? We want to hear from you. Send a message to michelle@thejournal.ie.

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