Gatwick Airport has introduced a free luggage home delivery service in a bid to cope with a critical shortage of staff at baggage handler firm Swissport.
The move came as airlines today warned travellers flying into the London airport this weekend that they face long luggage collection delays.
Some travellers may even have to leave without their luggage as Swissport doesn’t have enough staff to unload/load aircraft, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Swissport today denied that the problem is worse at weekends due to many of its staff being on zero-hours contracts and not wanting to work unsocial hours.
Monarch Airlines today terminated its contract with Swissport and will wait for 120-day notice period to expire before moving to a new contractor.
This weekend is expected to be one of the busiest of the year as people leave the UK for their summer holiday.
LGW has confirmed it will offer free baggage home delivery services for those affected by the delays.
A spokesperson said: “Although bags are being delivered on time for 95 per cent of flights, this is not good enough.
“This has been frustrating for passengers and we are disappointed with the recent arrival baggage service. Swissport has committed to getting this right, and we are working closely with them to help. Gatwick is providing additional staff.
“Although we are not permitted to unload the aircraft, we are assisting with transport of bags to the terminal and the unloading of bags onto belts. We’ve also introduced a free baggage home delivery service for those who prefer not to wait.”
Last weekend, passengers arriving at Gatwick’s south terminal faced long delays in collecting their baggage, with some reportedly waiting up to three hours.