'Chaos' at Heathrow: BA passengers are sent home without luggage

Christmas getaway chaos at Heathrow: BA passengers are sent home before they can collect their bags, flights are cancelled and huge queues form at passport control as staff shortages and fog cause mayhem

  • BA passengers say they were told to go home and leave luggage at Heathrow Airport due to baggage delays
  • Passengers were told to fill in a form with BA and their luggage would instead be delivered to their address
  • BA says the delay was caused by fog on Sunday morning and made worse by staffing shortages due to Covid
  • A spokesperson for the airline told MailOnline staff were ‘working extremely hard’ to fix the current delays 
  • Meanwhile, passengers also reported delays at Passport Control with one describing situation as ‘chaos’
  • Were you caught in last night’s BA chaos at Heathrow Airport? Contact me: [email protected] 

BA passengers are today facing pre-Christmas travel ‘chaos’ at Heathrow Airport with cancelled flights, queues at the border and a sea of stranded luggage strewn across baggage reclaim.

Astonishing pictures and video show unattended suitcases scattered around conveyor belts at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 last night, with one passenger describing it as ‘complete chaos’. 

Some passengers were even told to go home and leave their luggage at the airport – and have it sent to their address – instead of facing long waits to get their bags.

Meanwhile, at least half a dozen BA flights from the west-London airport have been cancelled today. Pictures show long lines of people queuing for Passport Control at Heathrow, which is operated by the UK’s Border Force.

BA chiefs have blamed a combination of fog and staffing shortages due to Covid for the delays and said staff are working ‘extremely hard’ to fix the issues. 

Heathrow say baggage in Terminal 5, which is exclusively used by BA and its sister airline Iberia, is the responsibility of BA.

The ‘chaos’ comes at one of the busiest times for air travel, with tens thousands of people making their way to the UK to be with their families for Christmas.

It also comes as travellers arriving in the UK last week faced huge delays at Heathrow’s border hall after the e-gates broke, leaving border staff to manually process thousands of passengers.


BA passengers are today facing pre-Christmas travel ‘chaos’ at Heathrow Airport with cancelled flights, queues at the border and a sea of stranded luggage strewn across baggage reclaim.

Astonishing pictures and video show unattended suitcases scattered around conveyor belts at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 last night, with one passenger describing it as ‘complete chaos’


At least half a dozen BA flights from the west-London airport have been cancelled today, while pictures show long lines of people queuing for Border Control at Heathrow. BA chiefs have blamed a combination of fog and staffing shortages due to Covid for the delays.

Heathrow passengers also took to Twitter to share photographs of people queuing in the corridors waiting to get through to Passport Control

But after last week’s disruption, delays struck again yesterday at Heathrow, with BA chiefs blaming fog on Sunday morning for setting back their flight schedule.

Airline bosses said flights had to be delayed or cancelled due to bad visibility, causing huge delays throughout the day and into last night.

And they say this was made worse due to a wave of Covid related sickness and staff being forced to self-isolate.

MailOnline understand the delays became so bad at one point that passengers were told to go home and leave their baggage at the airport to be collected by BA staff and sent to their address.

This resulted in a sea of unclaimed baggage building up beside the conveyor belts before it was pulled together and moved to a safe location.

Some passengers however told MailOnline that their baggage had been lost. One passenger travelling into Heathrow last night took to Twitter to share his experience. 

Jack Lawrence, a  biomedical science masters student, wrote on Twitter: ‘Big queues to get out of the airport for those whose flights have been cancelled too. 

‘Apparently luggage from all the cancelled flights is also all being chucked on the same luggage carousel. There’s so much chaos with bags – both from cancelled and actual flights that British airways is now suggesting people go home and submit a missing baggage claim.’ 

Others also described the situation as ‘complete chaos’. Natalia Kaliada said on Twitter: ‘Complete chaos at Heathrow. Massive delays of getting the luggage.

‘No system in place. People are strongly advised to leave without their luggage. Christmas Vibe!’

Another passenger wrote: ‘BA – Just started our honeymoon and our bags are stuck at Heathrow, your customer service phone line is not open and the missing bag reporting system will only let us log a report for one of our bags.’ 

Meanwhile, BA flights to Malaga, Barcelona, Glasgow and Amsterdam from Heathrow have been cancelled today.

One flight to Germany, which yesterday introduced a travel ban for UK tourists, has also been cancelled. 

Were you caught in the BA chaos at Heathrow? 

Contact me with your experience and pictures at: [email protected] 

A spokesperson for BA told MailOnline: ‘We’ve apologised to customers whose flights were cancelled due to operational constraints. 

‘Our teams are working extremely hard to get our customers rebooked and on their way as quickly as possible.’

There also reportedly delays at Border Control, with pictures last night showing long queues on the approach to passport control.

One passenger wrote: ‘Heathrow Airport needs to pull up its pants. It’s chaos.’ 

Border Control is the responsibility of Border Force, which falls under the Home Office, who have been contacted for comment. Heathrow meanwhile said the issues at Terminal 5 were down to individual airlines.

It comes after passengers last week blasted Heathrow for huge queues snaking through the airport.

Passengers claimed that there were up to four thousand people backed up at passport control due to yet another e-gate crashing.

They said that they were waiting for hours to get to the immigration area when it would take around six minutes normally. 

Passengers claimed that there were up to four thousand people backed up at passport control (pictured today) due to yet another e-gate crashing

They said that they were waiting for hours to get to the immigration area when it would take around six minutes normally (pictured today)

John Grimshaw flew back to Britain from his home in Chicago for his mother’s funeral and got caught up in the disorder.

He said that there were thousands of passengers queuing to get to passport control and branded Heathrow ‘a joke’.

He told MailOnline: ‘Just arrived from Chicago. E-gates down again, thousands of people lined up for passport control.

‘What the f***. I paid thousands for a business class ticket and no difference. This place is a joke. I was just told the e-gates were down and were being worked on.

‘I’m where it’s normally six minutes walk to the immigration area and we are stood still. There are probably three to four thousand people here.

He added: ‘Ten plus wide body aircraft arrived with 300 plus on each. This is unacceptable for this country’s principal airport.’

Others slammed Heathrow for the traffic on social media, with one saying ‘it is adding even more stress to an already stressful situation’.

Gerry Green wrote on Twitter: ‘Was in Immigration queue in Heathrow today, no social distancing, hot and sweaty, only two humans checking passports.

‘Then six more appear. No riot just comments about tea breaks etc. British humour still exists, despite mushroom treatment.’

And one person wrote online: ‘Isn’t there a way to better improve the queues and waiting times to check in at Heathrow T2?’

Teaching assistant Maan Harbi added last night: ‘We are supposed to departure at 15:00 but we are still on the ground 17:00 due to a technical issue with luggage system.’

Meanwhile Britons blasted Heathrow for the extra cost of parking their car while they were in hotel quarantine before the rules changed this morning.

Graham Else said he will have to pay £350 on top of his £2,450 stay in isolation due to the pricey parking at the airport.

He told the Telegraph: ‘My wife and I are caught up in the quarantine hotel debacle and arrived on December 8. I tried to extend my T5 Heathrow Long Term parking on the 9th, but was unable to do so online because my booked period had elapsed.

‘I now have the prospect of paying £33 per day for the excess days which means I will have a bill of more than £350 when my original term was approximately £140 for 21 days.’

He added: ‘My wife and I are pensioners and you can probably appreciate the impact of the hotel quarantine charge on our finances, so this extra whammy really hurts.’  

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