British Airways passengers suffer baggage chaos at Heathrow

British Airways has apologised to passengers after a “temporary technical fault” disrupted its baggage system at Heathrow Airport.

Many travellers on flights departing from the west London airport did not have their checked-in luggage put on the plane, while some of those on arriving flights faced long delays to retrieve their baggage.

The PA news agency understands the issue – which also caused many flights to be delayed by several hours – began on Tuesday afternoon and was resolved towards the end of the day.

A British Airways spokesman said: “We’ve apologised to those customers who were unable to travel with their luggage due to a temporary technical fault that was outside of our control.

“This issue has been resolved and we’ve brought in additional colleagues to support our teams in getting bags back to our customers as quickly as possible.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “British Airways experienced a technical issue with their allocation system. This has now been resolved.

“Our teams are on site supporting BA with their recovery.

“We advise passengers to check with BA before travelling to the airport as BA passengers in Terminal 5 may still be impacted. No other airline is impacted.”

Claire Wills, 41, said she feels “very anxious” about “when, how and even if” she will get her luggage back after flying into Heathrow Airport from Tirana, Albania, and waiting three hours for her suitcase only to be told to go home without it.

The lawyer from London told PA: “There were so many confused and crying people in T5 yesterday. I’m deeply disappointed and frustrated with BA, there were hardly any staff there and only about two announcements in the three hours I was there to explain what was happening.

“It felt like both BA and Heathrow were burying their heads in the sand and didn’t want to openly admit there was a problem.”

A woman in her 60s, Francesca Bellis-Jones, told PA she waited about an hour for her luggage at Heathrow airport after flying back from Crete with her husband, before eventually leaving without their bags.

The semi-retired milliner based in Hazlemere in Buckinghamshire said the couple were waiting at the luggage belt when “eventually one of the passengers appeared waving some paper and she was telling people that the luggage wasn’t coming out at all”.

She said: “Of course everyone was going crazy trying to find out what was happening. The staff gave no information at all apart from giving out these sheets telling you how to register that you hadn’t got your luggage.”

“I’m very annoyed about it as well as upset. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that an airline like BA in an airport like Heathrow gets right the fairly simple job of unloading suitcases from a plane.”

Writing on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, one passenger who flew into Heathrow described the situation as a “shambles”.

He added: “No info told just to go home. But need the bag for a wedding tomorrow and you’re telling me 48 hours for my bag!!!”

Another wrote: “Flew to Newcastle from Heathrow last night with @British_Airways.

“No updates or info provided by BA – flight arrived 3 hours late & without baggage.

“One staff member stood in baggage reclaim with a laminated piece of paper with a QR code to a portal that doesn’t work. Disgraceful.”