In the recent meltdown at a major UK airport, Heathrow has asked airlines flying out of Terminals 2 and 3 to cancel 10 per cent of their Monday flight schedules amid mounting baggage handling problems.
An estimated 15,000 passengers on 90 flights are affected. Ground departures range from a Loganair ATR72 commuter aircraft serving the Isle of Man to a nearly 500-seat Emirates Airbus A380 to Dubai.
Virgin Atlantic has canceled at least three transatlantic flights, including departures to New York and Los Angeles.
British Airways, which operates some flights from Terminal 3 as well as its main hub in Terminal 5, said it had made “a small number of cancellations”.
All three departures BA originally scheduled to Toulouse will be cancelled, along with two of the four Marseille flights.
An airline spokesman said: “We are in contact with affected customers to apologize, inform them of their consumer rights and offer them alternative options, including a refund or rebooking.”
Other cancellations marked by LatestPageNews contain:
The request came at the end of the weekend when the airport was plagued with baggage problems.
The complex baggage system in Terminal 2 broke down on Friday, resulting in a so-called “baggage mountain” outside the building.
The collection of hundreds of bags was finally dismantled Sunday night by a team of workers loading the bags into vehicles. It is understood that part of the luggage can be sent to Europe by truck to be distributed to its owners.
Many arriving passengers have to wait a long time for their luggage after exhausting long-haul flights. Chelsea Alison, who traveled from San Francisco, husband and 10-month-old baby, had waited hours for the bags to be unloaded and taken to the package.
she said LatestPageNews: “Our flight from San Francisco was delayed almost two hours due to problems in London [affecting the outbound flight].
“Disembarkation from the plane was delayed due to staffing issues. We’ve been sitting in the baggage hall for three and a half hours.”
Virgin Atlantic told her she could have the bags delivered to her home in Essex but warned it could take up to a week.
A Heathrow spokesman said: “We apologize unreservedly for the disruption experienced by passengers over the course of this weekend.
“The technical problems with the baggage systems have prompted us to ask the airlines operating in Terminals 2 and 3 to consolidate their flight schedules on Monday 20 June.
“This allows us to minimize the ongoing impact and we urge all passengers to check with their airlines for the latest information.”
The cause of the cancellations is believed to be an “extraordinary circumstance” – meaning passengers are not entitled to cash compensation from their airline. But airlines need to get travelers to their destinations as quickly as possible, even if that means paying to fly with a competing airline.
Hotels and food are also provided.