'Chaos! There are no staff'! UK airport mayhem exposed in shocking TV documentary

4 mins read


Dispatches: Airport Chaos Undercover features a TV reporter secretly working as a baggage handler. Footage captures a pair of travellers offering to help him find their suitcases, and even climbing on to the baggage carousel.

As their heads appear through the plastic carousel curtains, one of them asks him: “Do you want me to help you unload the bags? We have been waiting for an hour and a half. We’ve got another flight to catch yet.”

The unnamed reporter for tonight’s Channel 4 programme also filmed a baggage handler colleague at Manchester airport who complained about working conditions, saying it was “chaos” because they have “literally no staff”.

They added: “I give up, mate. I have just had enough already.”

The reporter claims to have witnessed baggage handlers performing physically demanding work alone, on long shifts over multiple days, that would have possibly been covered by two or more people before the pandemic.

He said: “To be honest, I just don’t know how people do these shifts and these kinds of hours, starting at 3am. It’s absolutely brutal.

“No one gives them much credit. But without them no one’s flights will be taking off. No one will be going on holiday.”

Swissport, the baggage handling company used by many airlines, sacked more than half of its 6,000 staff during the pandemic.A statement from Swissport to Channel 4 said: “We are sorry for our part in the disruption some people have experienced at Manchester airport.

“We are doing everything we can to mitigate delays for passengers, including hiring more than 4,100 people since January.”

In tonight’s Dispatches programme, presenter Jane Moore also meets a number of passengers who have been affected by flight cancellations, including a family who spent nearly £4,000 rearranging flights for a wedding.

She also talks to a passenger who claims they were left stranded in Europe without critical heart medication, and a single mother who said she had saved for years to take her son on his first holiday abroad, only to have it cancelled.

In June, passengers at Manchester had filmed frustrated travellers climbing along the carousel to find their own bags.

One holidaymaker told how people offered to load luggage onto the belts themselves before police arrived. She said: “Passengers got annoyed because they could not get any answers.

Crawling “People were climbing and crawling through the curtain on the carousel belt trying to find their own luggage.

“The bags were there, but there was no one to put them on to the carousel.

“The police came armed.They were closing shutters and walking around making the point. People were just trying to get their own bags back.

“The worst part was that you could not get any answers. There was no one working in the area and no representatives.”

Dispatches: Airport Chaos Undercover, tonight, Channel 4, 8pm.



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