Delta sends plane to retrieve 1,000 lost bags stranded at London airport

Delta Airlines Airbus A330-200 plane registration N851NW is seen landing at London Heathrow Airport, UK. (Nicolas Economou/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A nightmare scenario played out for thousands of travelers when their luggage was lost, but an airline stepped in to offer help.

Delta the pilots flew a plane carrying 1,000 bags – and no passengers – from London Heathrow Airport to its hub airport in Detroit on July 11.

In a statement provided to FOX television stations on Thursday, the airline said:

“Delta teams worked on a creative solution to move delayed checked baggage from London-Heathrow on July 11 after a scheduled flight had to be canceled due to passenger volume restrictions from the airport to Heathrow. The Delta flight 9888 from Heathrow to Delta’s Detroit hub brought 1,000 bags back to the United States, where crews then transported the bags to our customers.”

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A Delta The spokesperson also shared with FOX television stations on Thursday that the move was an “operational decision” made to expedite the movement of delayed bags. The passengers on the flight were rebooked on other flights, the airline said.

As summer trip in full swing, airlines are facing labor shortages, flight cancellations and delays, and capacity issues at airports.

CEO of Heathrow Airport John Holland Kaye write an open letter Tuesday announcing a limit on the number of travelers and asking airlines to stop selling tickets until mid-September.

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“Some airlines have taken significant action, but others have not, and we believe further action is needed now to ensure passengers have a safe and reliable journey. We have therefore made the difficult decision to introduce a capacity cap. with effect from July 12 to September 11. Similar measures to control passenger demand have been implemented at other airports in the UK and around the world.

Kaye said in the letter that Heathrow has an average of 100,000 passengers in the airport per day, but explained that the number of summer travelers could reach 104,000 per day.

“Our assessment is that the maximum number of daily departing passengers that the airlines, airline ground handling services and the airport can collectively serve over the summer does not exceed 100,000. The latest forecast indicate that even despite the amnesty, daily outgoing seats over the summer will average 104,000, a daily surplus of 4,000 seats.On average, only 1,500 of these 4,000 daily seats are currently sold to passengers, and we are therefore asking our airline partners to stop selling summer tickets to limit the impact on passengers.

“Over the past few weeks, with the number of departing passengers regularly exceeding 100,000 per day, we have started to see periods where service drops to unacceptable levels: long queues, delays for passengers requiring assistance, luggage not traveling with the passengers or late arrival, lack of punctuality and last minute cancellations.”

The CEO concluded that the airport was working to restore “excellent service” for travellers.

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Delta struggling with rising fuel prices and the cost of canceling more than 4,000 flights in May and June.

The Atlanta carrier had the most canceled flights over Memorial Day and June 19 weekends. CEO Ed Bastian Bastian said Delta and other airlines had tried too hard to catch up to two years of the pandemic and grab as much revenue as possible when demand was strong.

The canceled airline 337 flights, i.e. around 1% of its programme, in the first 11 days of Julyand just 83 after July 3, a major improvement from earlier in the summer, according to figures from tracking service Flightaware.

Delta said it has hired 18,000 employees since the start of 2021 and is reducing its schedule to operate more smoothly. Delta plans to pay $700 million in overtime and bonuses to have enough people on the job for the rest of the year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, DC