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The luggage is piling up at Dublin Airport, so what are your rights if your bag is lost?

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has met with both Ryanair and Aer Lingus on the baggage issues.

Baggage piled up in the luggage carousel in Dublin Airport in the early hours of Thursday
Baggage piled up in the luggage carousel in Dublin Airport in the early hours of Thursday
Image: The Journal

IN RECENT WEEKS, attention has been drawn back to the aviation industry as hundreds of airline passengers have faced issues with their baggage arriving either late or being lost altogether.

Baggage piled up in Dublin Airport’s terminal has become a more common sight for travellers returning home from abroad.

This luggage is mainly being left within the baggage carousel area of the airport, immediately after passengers clear passport control.

As the issue has become more pronounced, the Government has begun engaging in meetings with airlines over the problems, with Transport Minister Eamon Ryan meeting with both Aer Lingus and Ryanair in recent days.

It has also seen calls for Aer Lingus to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee, with the Committee chair hitting out at their refusal to attend next Wednesday.

Kieran O’Donnell said it was “unacceptable” that the airline executives refused to appear next week, however Aer Lingus has said that it offered to appear before the Committee at a later date.

“Aer Lingus offered to attend a Committee meeting at a later date and to answer in writing any specific questions that the Committee had in advance of that meeting,” the airline said.

Speaking yesterday, Ryan said that the situation in Dublin Airport “remains tight” particularly on the baggage issue.

“That problem is primarily coming from incoming flights, particularly if the flight was a connecting flight, the bags aren’t coming at the same time as the passengers and then arriving late and at volume and presenting real difficulties for passengers and airlines.

“That has to be resolved and I was asking Aer Lingus today, I said ‘what can the airlines do’ because its a network problem. Its whats happen in Schiphol and Heathrow and all the other airports are having knock on consequences here.”

He added that baggage is being removed from the arrivals hall of Dublin Airport and that it is being moved to a seperate baggage handling facility, so people can access and find their bags.

“There is a lot more work to be done. The problems in the airport, not just in Dublin but across Europe, are not yet resolved but they have to be. It’s not satisfactory the current level of service.”

20220714_010230 Source: The Journal

When asked by The Journal about ongoing issues with lost baggage, a spokesperson for Aer Lingus said that it was aware of the widespread disruption.

“Aer Lingus is aware of widespread disruption and resource challenges across many airports (most notably London Heathrow, Amsterdam and Paris) and among third party suppliers,” said the spokesperson.

“These issues are outside of our control but are resulting in some customers experiencing a level of service below what they expect, including delayed baggage at Dublin Airport.”

The airline says that the issue is being caused by bags being transferred from one flight to another or from one airline to another.

“Our team on the ground is continuing to work closely with all the relevant handling agents to retrieve delayed or misdirected baggage as quickly and efficiently as possible,” added the spokesperson.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has said that it is currently liaising with both airlines and ground handling companies on the issue of lost baggage.

“We are liaising very closely with both the airlines and their ground handling companies in relation to these issues, the root of which lies in the significant staff hiring challenges that are facing all companies operating in the aviation sector currently,” DAA’s Media Relations Manager Graeme McQueen said.

What can impacted customers do?

According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), airline passengers have got a series of rights when travelling to or from an airport within the EU.

For passengers who have issues with luggage in particular, including luggage being stolen, delayed, lost or destroyed, their rights are set down in the ‘Montreal Convention’ on air carrier liability.

“These rules mean that when a consumer checks-in a piece of luggage, the airline is liable if something were to happen to it,” said a spokesperson for the CCPC.

“Where luggage is delayed or lost (i.e. has not been located within 21 days) consumers are entitled to claim compensation from their airline.”

The CCPC has said that the value of the compensation that people receive may be limited by the regulations of the Montreal Convention.

The spokesperson added that in most cases, airline passengers who have any issues with luggage will be asked to fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) as part of the compensation process, which may seek receipts for lost items.

There is currently no dedicated regulator for the Montreal Convention in Ireland, leading the CCPC to advise any passenger unhappy with an airline’s response under the Convention to go through the complaints process of the company.

“If their complaint to the airline remains unresolved and where the compensation claim is for €2,000 or less, the consumer can use the Small Claims Court procedure. Alternatively, they may seek independent legal advice, should they wish to pursue the matter further.”

When travelling outside the EU however, the CCPC advises passengers to examine the terms and conditions of their flight bookings for details on their rights.

The phone numbers for the lost property services of airlines and ground handlers in Dublin Airport are:

  • Ryanair: +353 1 8121367
  • Swissport: +353 1 8125715
  • Sky Handling Partner: +353 1 8141400

Aer Lingus have called for customers to log their missing baggage before leaving the airport through their customer service desk or through a self-service kiosk

This will create a missing baggage file, which customers can track here.

“Once a delayed bag is located it will be forwarded to the relevant airport if required and then set up for delivery to the address provided by the customer in their baggage file,” said a spokesperson for Aer Lingus.

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About the author:

Tadgh McNally

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