Armed airport police deploy as angry passengers go behind baggage carousel to get luggage

3 June 2022, 14:24 | Updated: 3 June 2022, 14:41

Fed-up passengers at Manchester Airport climb onto the carousel to collect luggage as armed police stalk through the hall

By Will Taylor

Armed police swooped after disgruntled passengers took matters into their own hands and climbed through a baggage carousel to retrieve her belongings.

Officers were filmed heading to the luggage area after the incident, which stunned bystanders at Manchester Airport.

It came amid chaotic scenes across the nation's airports, which has seen hundreds of flights get cancelled, massive queues and widespread disruption to long-planned holidays.

Tourists were filmed heading through the black ribbons apparently trying to get their luggage from where baggage handlers offload it as two armed officers arrive to investigate.

A 36-year-old passenger, from Oldham, told the Manchester Evening News that hundreds of people were waiting in the baggage reclaim hall, where luggage was left on the floor, some dating to May 27 - three days before the incident.

Her bags did not arrive as she waited three and a half hours. She said: "There was a phone on the wall that you could ring but we got no help. We went to the carousel and there was nothing - then our flight disappeared from the screen. Border control came to calm some passengers. They were saying that there was no one to get the bags.

Britain's airports have been rammed with passengers amid chaotic scenes
Britain's airports have been rammed with passengers amid chaotic scenes. Picture: Alamy

"Flights were coming in all the time and there were more and more people waiting for their bags. At some point one flight got their bags but they had been waiting for three and a half hours.

"Then, bags just started to arrive. Bags from different flights were put on the same carousel - a different one than the one we were assigned - and eventually I got my bag. We were quite lucky. It was two and a half hours. A lot of people were angry. People were offering to go and help put the bags on the carousel from behind to speed up the process.

"It was worse for people with kids. There was nowhere to sit or get a drink or something to eat. A lot of people were just leaving their bags and coming back to get them on another day."

Read more: Airlines still selling package holidays despite airport chaos over cancelled flights

Read more: Holiday misery for 34,000 Brits as TUI cancels six flights a day

Cuts to staff in the airline industry during the Covid pandemic have left companies struggling to meet the demand for travel during half-term and the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Manchester Airport Group said previously "it is clear" baggage handlers Swissport "are experiencing temporary staffing shortages", and Swissport, which has apologised for its role in delays, said it had recruited more than 2,800 people this year.

Meanwhile, as the Government said the airline industry needed to sort itself out, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary suggested sending in the army.

He said experts in defence and security could be deployed to help stop lengthy queues.

"Bringing in the army, which they do at many other European airports, would, at a stroke, relieve the pressure on airport security and would mean that people have a much better experience – not just this weekend, but for each weekend over the next three, four months," he told ITV News.