Thousands of passengers were delayed yesterday (June 28) after the baggage conveyor system at Heathrow Terminal Five broke down.
Check-in at the terminal, exclusively used by BA, was shut from 2pm until 5.30pm during which time only passengers with hand baggage could board planes.
While no flights were cancelled, thousands suffered hours of delays while the system was fixed and BA could book them onto later flights. A spokesman for the UK national carrier said many were put in hotels overnight, to catch flights this morning (June 29).
The airline, which also offered full refunds for those who no longer wished to travel, apologised for the "significant" problems. It said it was now "working round the clock to reunite customers with their delayed bags as quickly as we can."
Passengers flying into the terminal were not affected by the breakdown. BA and BAA, which owns the airport, said that the baggage system was now working normally.
A spokesman for BAA said it was not clear what caused the problem and it was now looking into it. The baggage handling system at T5 is the largest system in Europe for a single terminal.
It has two systems, a main baggage sorter and a fast track system. Between them they are designed to handle and sort 70,000 bags a day.
Report by Stanley Slaughter