Hundreds of passengers have been waiting for over three hours at Heathrow Airport to retrieve their baggage with no explanation from staff.
Nadir Coowar, 29, and his family landed back in the UK at 7am with Air Mauritius after a 12-hour flight, only to be stranded in Terminal 2 waiting for their luggage to turn up.
“I landed at 7am and I’m still waiting for the bags over two hours later,” he told Sky News.
He said there were huge queues at border control upon landing and huge crowds at baggage reclaim.
“Everyone is just waiting around patiently for their luggage and no one has explained to us what is happening,” he said.
“There’s easily 200 people here waiting for luggage.”
Mr Coowar said he heard one worker claim there were “staff shortages because it is a Sunday” with no further explanation as to why hundreds of passengers have been left in the dark about their bags.
“Everyone is too tired to sort of argue or complain. If they’re like me, they want their suitcase or just want to know when it will arrive.
“I’ve seen a lot of people leave without their suitcases. I would do that if I knew I could get my luggage later.”
He added that he saw dozens of deserted cases lying around with their owners nowhere in sight – and presumed they must have been from earlier flights.
A spokeswoman for Heathrow said that despite airport staff shortages – baggage coming into Heathrow was ultimately the airline’s responsibility.
“It is airlines who transport your baggage from the plane to the baggage reclaim area, as they either employ their own ground staff, or outsource this process to a third party company.
“This issue is isolated and is unrelated to the technical baggage issues in T2 on Friday,” she said.
Mr Coowar said one airport worker told passengers that luggage was waiting to be loaded onto the carousels but there was no staff to do this.
“It’s a bit of a joke really, nobody knows what’s going on,” he said.
“Considering there were so many people waiting for their luggage, it didn’t seem like an isolated incident to me.
“And the Heathrow worker mentioned it was happening to other flights.”
He said some passengers were told to come back tonight to retrieve their luggage.
It comes as airports and airlines across the country grapple with staff shortages during the busiest season of the year.
On Friday, an “huge luggage carpet” was spotted outside a Heathrow terminalas staff grappled with an “ongoing issue with the baggage system”.
Sky News defense and security editor Deborah Haynes witnessed the chaotic scenes as she left Heathrow’s Terminal 2 after an early evening arrival from Brussels.
She said: “The warning signs that all was not well were clear at baggage claim. There were clusters of suitcases without owners grouped around various conveyor belts. I wondered where the owners were.”
Various airports in the UK and across Europe are struggling to handle the peak summer season due to a shortage of workers, resulting in weeks of travel chaos.
Airlines have faced the same staffing issues, resulting in hundreds of cancellations over the past month.
Sky News has reached out to Air Mauritius for comment.