Heathrow Airport’s IT glitch leads to luggage chaos

29 June 2014 (Last Updated June 29th, 2014 18:30)

Thousands of passengers travelling from London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 had to fly without their baggage after its conveyor belts were deactivated by a computer glitch.

Heathrow IT glitch

Thousands of passengers travelling from London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 had to fly without their baggage after its conveyor belts were deactivated by a computer glitch.

While the problem has been resolved, airport officials noted it might be several days until all passengers are reunited with their belongings.

The problem occurred on 26 June when an IT error at Terminal 5 paralysed the 30-mile long conveyor belts, which are capable of handling 12,000 bags a day.

Baggage handlers were forced to move the luggage to the aircraft by hand but were unable to keep up and baggage was subsequently left behind, resulting in a huge backlog.

As the only airline to currently fly from the new terminal, British Airways was hit by complaints from passengers, who were given no timeline on when they would receive their luggage.

"We are working round the clock with British Airways to reunite passengers with their bags as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, the airport has advised passengers to carry essential items in hand luggage where possible, even though they can currently check-in bags as normal.

A spokesperson from Heathrow Airport said: "We are working round the clock with British Airways to reunite passengers with their bags as quickly as possible.

"Passengers are receiving bags all the time but it will take several days to reunite passengers with their bags due to a backlog following the intermittent faults over recent days.

"Flights are still operating as normal. Our engineers are closely monitoring the system."


Image: The problem occurred after an IT error at Terminal 5 paralysed the conveyor belts. Photo: courtesy of Heathrow Airport.