The scenes come as staff shortages continue to wreak havoc at UK airports (Picture: Manchester Evening News)
Furious passengers were filmed climbing through a baggage carousel curtain to find lost luggage at Manchester Airport
Armed police were called to the scene as people attempted to find their baggage, which had been left stranded amid staff shortages.
The person who captured the footage, who has not been named, told Manchester Evening News: ‘Passengers got annoyed because they could not get any answers. People were climbing and crawling through the curtain on the carousel belt trying to find their own luggage.
‘The bags were there, but there was no one to put them onto the carousel.’
She added there were ‘hundreds of people’ looking to find their luggage – some of which was ‘everywhere on the floor’ – and that some cases were dated from May 27, three days earlier.
She continued: ‘We went to the carousel and there was nothing – then our flight disappeared from the screen.
‘Border Control came to calm some passengers. They were saying that there was no one to get the bags.
‘Eventually I got my bag. We were quite lucky – it was two and a half hours.
‘A lot of people were angry. People were offering to go and help put the bags on the carousel from behind to speed up the process.’
The chaotic scenes follow a statement from TUI in which the airline said it would be making ‘a small number of planned cancellations between now and June 30’ from Manchester Airport.
Confirming six flights a day would be cut, it said: ‘The May half-term holidays are always an incredibly busy period with many customers looking to get away, and this year is no different.
‘We are directly contacting all impacted customers in departure date order and they will automatically receive a full refund.
‘We can assure our customers that the remainder of our flying programme is expected to operate as planned.’
A spokesperson for Manchester Airport added both TUI and its ground handler Swissport have faced ‘significant challenges with their check-in and baggage reclaim operations’ at the site due to ‘temporary staff shortages’.
‘We will continue to work with Tui, Swissport and other partners to give passengers the best possible service as the travel sector builds back to full strength after the pandemic,’ they said.
While Swissport – one of several baggage handlers at Manchester Airport – welcomed the ‘post-pandemic return in travel demand’, they said the current period is ‘exacerbating resource challenges across the recovering aviation industry’ and apologised for the disruption.
The scenes from Manchester Airport are the latest to emerge from Britain’s terminals, with passengers at Gatwick Airport being captured sleeping on baggage conveyer belts earlier this week.
Queues for security at Heathrow’s Terminal Three repeatedly looped back on themselves, while lengthy delays were also reported at Bristol Airport.
According to the aviation data firm Cirium, 291 departures from major UK airports have been cancelled between May 25 and Tuesday.
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