The lost luggage crisis is so bad Delta is sending an entire plane just to rescue 1,000 pieces of luggage stranded in London’s Heathrow Airport

July 13, 2022, 7:08 PM UTC
luggages at Heathrow Airport in London
Uncollected suitcases are seen at Heathrow Airport in London.
Paul Ellis—AFP/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines Inc. passengers who lost their luggage due to operational chaos at London’s Heathrow Airport got extra help in reuniting with their belongings when the carrier deployed a wide-body aircraft to bring 1,000 bags back to the U.S.

Delta’s “creative solution” came after it canceled regularly scheduled London-to-Detroit Flight 17 on July 11 because of passenger limits imposed by Heathrow, the Atlanta-based airline said Wednesday. Travelers were shifted to other flights, and Delta used the empty Airbus SE A330-200 to retrieve the lost bags. 

The luggage was returned to Detroit and forwarded to customers from there, Delta said Wednesday.

“We’ve gone as far as recently we had a separate charter just to repatriate bags back to customers that have been stranded because of some of the operational issues,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said on a conference call to discuss quarterly financial results.

Heathrow has struggled to keep up with bags over the past few weeks because of understaffing and a surge in travel. The crisis has led luggage to pile up after some passengers were forced to leave the terminals without their bags. 

—With assistance from Siddharth Philip.

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