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Zero bags!

Old 10th Sep 2023, 22:05
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Zero bags!

https://www.yahoo.com/news/swiss-pla...115342581.html

A plane flying from Zurich to Spain this weekend arrived without a single piece of luggage onboard, unbeknownst to the passengers, media reported Sunday, as the airline blamed ground staff shortages.

Passengers on the Swiss airlines flight to the northern Spanish city of Bilbao Saturday evening waited by the conveyor belt for their luggage to appear for over two hours, in vain, the Blick daily reported.

Swiss airlines spokesman Kavin Ampalam confirmed that the plane, which Swiss had operated on behalf of Edelweiss airlines, had taken off with 111 passengers but no baggage onboard.

"There was a shortage of ground staff," he told AFP, adding that the crew had waited for the situation to be rectified.

But after "one hour and 16 minutes, the situation was still unchanged, and for operational reasons we decided to fly to Bilbao without the baggage".

The reason, he explained, was the need to pick up passengers in Bilbao and get the plane back to Zurich before the airport closed for the night.

"We understand the situation is not favourable for the people involved, and of course we regret the inconvenience," he said.

Blick meanwhile cited passengers saying the pilot had apologised for the delayed takeoff in Zurich, blaming "a lack of qualified personnel", but said no mention was made of the decision to leave the baggage behind.

Passengers told the paper that no Swiss staff had been on the ground in Bilbao, and that they had then waited for over two hours for their luggage before staff from Spanish airline Iberia informed them that the plane had landed with no baggage onboard.

"Our vacation is ruined," passenger Carsten Redlich told Blick.

Ampalam said he could not confirm that passengers had not been informed about the decision to leave the baggage behind in Zurich.

"We are still analysing the situation to find out what happened exactly and how we can improve," he said.

"This shouldn't happen."
Where was the Captain on this flight? He should have properly informed the passengers about the situation and offered the option to deplane.

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 10th Sep 2023 at 23:39. Reason: Add quote to save us from following a link 🙊
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 00:04
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Originally Posted by Sailvi767
Where was the Captain on this flight? He should have properly informed the passengers about the situation and offered the option to deplane.
Sitting in the left seat, right where you’d expect him (or her) to be. I suspect that this was not the captain’s decision. He/she had to be aware of the empty cargo holds. Likely the captain discussed situation with ops and was directed to fly the route with no mention to pax of the baggage snafu, thus banking the route revenue.

As for the spokesman statement about not confirming whether pax were informed, I’d say pax standing in front of an empty baggage carousel for 2 hrs is credible confirmation.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 00:19
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Why this made the news is what keeps me confused...during the covid times it was a almost a common practice with many european airlines in many european airports...
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 04:47
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How is this news. It happens all the time.

I spent €760 and billed Air France (who paid up promptly) earlier this year when no bags were loaded on that flight.

My bag made its way home 2 days later.

I did. get the same annoyance though of the airline not telling anyone about it and we found out by getting bored waiting at the carousel and heading to customer services after 90 mins.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 06:39
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Originally Posted by BFSGrad
Sitting in the left seat, right where you’d expect him (or her) to be. I suspect that this was not the captain’s decision. He/she had to be aware of the empty cargo holds. Likely the captain discussed situation with ops and was directed to fly the route with no mention to pax of the baggage snafu, thus banking the route revenue.

As for the spokesman statement about not confirming whether pax were informed, I’d say pax standing in front of an empty baggage carousel for 2 hrs is credible confirmation.
Exactly why the profession is losing community standing.

Many happy to take credit for the entire ship in good days - but not when thing go pear shape.

The captain is responsible - just as the captain has ultimate responsibility.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 07:26
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In order of priority 1.) Safety, 2.) Comfort, 3.) Punctuality, 4.) Anything else. That 'Anything else' is a commercial decision on almost every occasion. An airline captain announcing that commercial decision to the pax will almost always result in no. 3 being compromised by angry passengers and sometimes even no. 1. As stated in the press release, if they didn't depart Bilbao in time, the return pax would have to be accommodated. The airline industry operates on razor thin margins. If the public paid a fair price, maybe more planes/pilots would be available to perform rescue flights for delays that are actually completely outside of their control?
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 07:32
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There seem to be a recent customer relation policy that I first experienced just before COVID with one of the airlines I use as Pax the most : Lufthansa ; as soon a something goes wrong . like large delays, no bags on carrousel, excessive queues at security, etc.. , the airline ground staff disappear and Pax are left alone, Swiss belonging to Luft, might be the same policy applies. The argument being for their staff not to face angry mob , understandable, but it does not help building a good relation with their customers either. .
Knowing the bags were not on board ( can happen as explained before) but not telling the Pax and have them waiting 2 hours in front of an empty carrousel is really not acceptable and is not going to help them getting more customers for sure.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 07:38
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Happens all the time as others have said. A couple of months ago we left BCN with no bags due to ground staff strikes. Rush bags arrived to destination the following morning.

However, we informed the passengers on arrival through a PA. It's written in our books to do it like this.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 10:22
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Originally Posted by Superpilot
In order of priority 1.) Safety, 2.) Comfort, 3.) Punctuality, 4.) Anything else. That 'Anything else' is a commercial decision on almost every occasion. An airline captain announcing that commercial decision to the pax will almost always result in no. 3 being compromised by angry passengers and sometimes even no. 1. As stated in the press release, if they didn't depart Bilbao in time, the return pax would have to be accommodated. The airline industry operates on razor thin margins. If the public paid a fair price, maybe more planes/pilots would be available to perform rescue flights for delays that are actually completely outside of their control?
Just to confirm, it is the passenger's fault for buying tickets at the prices advertised by the airline that they don't deserve to be told that their bags are not going to be arriving with them?
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 11:04
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Friends of mine flew with Quantas from Perth to London recently. Their bags did not arrive for two days. They were told before landing that their bags were not on board. Apparently its quite common on this flight as bags are offloaded to allow for extra fuel to make the 17 hour non stop flight.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 11:10
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Originally Posted by dixi188
Apparently its quite common on this flight as bags are offloaded to allow for extra fuel to make the 17 hour non stop flight.
Maybe i'm mad but if you can't uplift the correct fuel *and* the payload thats...paying for the service... on a regular basis, you shouldn't be operating that service?!

(notwithstanding the *occasional* exception into performance limited airfields etc)
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 11:30
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Just to confirm, it is the passenger's fault for buying tickets at the prices advertised by the airline that they don't deserve to be told that their bags are not going to be arriving with them?


Basically. Yes - Although I wouldn't put it quite the same way, nor "blame" customers per se.

This is the age of low cost air travel. Low cost means that some corners have to be cut, and service compromises have to be made.

Low cost airlines simply cannot afford to have aircraft waiting for hours after their departure time for something like late bags. The knock-on effects would quickly escalate, and then, not only the passengers of this aircraft, but the next plane-load and the next plane-load after that would be delayed and be made late for their holidays.

It occasionally happens that the Captain has to make a decision between waiting for late bags versus missing a slot, going out of crew hours, compensation etc, and all the knock-on effects to subsequent flights and the operational schedule that would cause. Once in a while we reluctantly decide to go without some or all of the bags.

This is low cost flying. One way to keep it low cost was to sell off all the airline's own handling and baggage staff, and employ handling companies instead for lower cost. To make these handling companies low cost, they in turn don't employ very much staff sickness cover. So we are at the mercy of those companies sometimes. We cannot expect old fashioned first class service if we are all paying the lowest fares - the economics just don't work.

If the Captain told passengers that they would be leaving without bags and then passengers wanted to get off, or started arguing, chaos would ensue, and actually, it would not make the situation any better. I think that the airline was very remiss in not telling the passengers not to wait at the destination baggage carousel, but again, they wouldn't necessarily have their own staff on duty at the destination and would have to rely on third party handling companies, who also work at minimum cost and minimum staffing, so messages don't necessarily get through staff are not necessarily available and things don't necessarily happen.

Also, there are sometimes occasions where the hold bags bulk out or are too heavy to carry so cannot all be carried anyway and have to be sent on the next available flight.

Obviously, it is extremely important that any vital medication etc is carried in a cabin bag, not in the hold bag, just in case your bag does not travel on your flight.
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 12:00
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After the plane flew back from Bilbao to Zurich was there anybody to offload those bags ? or did another bunch of pax have a fruitless wait in front of an empty carousel ?
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 13:22
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Maybe they could have simply swapped the bags. Let the people arriving have the luggage for the departing flight and on arrival they get the luggage from the outbound flight! Think of the cost savings! I hope the CEO of Ryan Air does not think this one up.
As a Captain I could not in good conscience due what this Captain did. Over many years I have found that telling passengers the truth works out best.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 04:19
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To get into a position where they were unable to load baggage is unfortunate.

To decide to leave the baggage behind to travel next day, rather than delay the flight and thus strand both the baggage AND PASSENGERS booked on the next flight makes sense, unpalatable as it may be to the affected passengers.

To not tell the passengers before the flight is pretty rude, but understandable; the potential for conflict with angry passengers onboard would seem real, but it did deny passengers the opportunity to decide not to travel.

But to leave a plane load of people hanging around a carousel for two hours waiting for luggage which you KNOW will not appear until next day, presumably simply because nobody wanted to be the one to break the bad news, is to me as a potential passenger, unforgivable. Someone senior in a uniform should have been out there as soon as possible explaining what had happened, when the bags could be expected to arrive, how the customers should notify where they want them delivered or forwarded, and what compensation they will be offered.

That's the point where I decide I no longer fly with you if I can possibly avoid it.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 09:48
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Apparently, they hat do go to pick up pax in Bilbao to get back before Zurich closed for the night. I can understand that offering to deplane would have cost additional time, and if at all, should have been offered a little early, together with an announcement that they were likely to leave within 20 minutes without bags and now was the time to get off if that was too much of an inconvenience. I also do not see why someone would have to break the news on the ground. What's the problem with doing a PA on the plane?

Just last week, flew LH Cityline DUB to MUC. Delay of 45 minutes, later extended, was announced early on. Once boarded, the captain said something about issues with baggage handling in Munich. Well, got into MUC about an hour late with most of the terminal and baggage claim already shut down and had to wait for another hour for the first bag to appear. Nobody bothered to inform whether bags had made it all.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 10:11
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Although I have no axe to grind here, I purchased Apple Air Tags last year and am now able to check if my bag is onboard.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 10:25
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@ nonsense; Agreed, but please revisit my comments about airlines not necessarily having their own staff at the destination, so they will have to ask the handling agent to go and make the announcement on their behalf.
Now bear in mind that the handling agent will be servicing multiple airlines, and dozens of flights, so informing the inbound passengers that their baggage was not shipped is going to be a low priority for that handling agent - well below all the delays and challenges of the flights which are about to leave and which they are running around to dispatch. I am not excusing this, and of course the passengers should have been informed.

Originally Posted by Abrahn
Which part of "safety" is consistent with being dumped hundreds of miles from home with no clothing, possibly no where to stay and missing essential medication?

If the NHS or Police dumped people on the street with no possessions and something went wrong then they'd be up on manslaughter charges.

To Uplinker's point, yes the airlines operate in a commercial environment, but all commercial environments are constrained by laws. In this case people have bought tickets and got on the aeroplane on the understanding that their bags would go too, or at least the airline would make best efforts to transport them. That's the consent that means you aren't kidnapping them. Change that agreement deliberately and you're effectively kidnapping a few hundred people and stealing their luggage. It's the deliberate part that's important. Same as if a surgeon decided to remove an organ mid-surgery without consent.
Come on now ! Kidnapping ??!? Manslaughter !?!?!
Not having your luggage is annoying, inconvenient, and a hassle; (see my experience below)*
As I said, and as any sensible person would know; vital medication should be carried on the person or in a cabin bag, not in the hold luggage.

I have not recently read all airline's passenger terms and conditions, but I bet they state that they don't guarantee that luggage will arrive at the same time as the passenger.

Your travel insurance will cover the cost of buying emergency clothing and toiletries.

This is low cost, no frills flying. We all "voted" for it, and continue to vote for it with our wallets, but we must understand that we are not going to get first class service for 3rd class money. Normally we do get acceptable no frills service but occasionally things can go wrong.


* For what it's worth, pilots also have their luggage lost or delayed. I once flew UK military personnel from Brize Norton out to Kansas for exercises. The military managed to lose my hold bag, so I was in Kansas - where it was freezing cold and snowing - with just the thin uniform trousers and short sleeved shirt that I stood up in !
So when we got to the hotel, I took the hotel courtesy bus to the local Mall to buy clothes. As you can imagine, I felt a right Charlie walking around the mall in my airline uniform, and because of the extreme cold, I had to wear my uniform jacket - complete with stripes on the sleeves - but it was all I had. (I always carry a small bag with toothpaste and deodorant etc, so I can freshen up at any point).

Another time, I had flown passengers to Tobago, and again my bag was lost. So for two days, I had to wear my uniform in the hotel and restaurant etc, feeling a right idiot. (And washing and ironing the shirt in my room every night).

Last edited by Uplinker; 12th Sep 2023 at 10:41.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 13:28
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Well......Good luck taking an airline to court and charging them for manslaughter or kidnap merely because they had to leave your hold bag behind.......

(And as I say; check the airline's conditions of carriage before you go to the police).
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 15:23
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"There was a shortage of ground staff" seems to hide some far more considerable screw-up, sufficiently embarrassing that taking the public relations hit for screwing the passengers was apparently the better choice. So, how rough was it behind the scenes? I'm betting the shortage was forgetting about this flight entirely and they sent the ground staff home early.
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