More flights cancelled at Terminal 5Which? urges passengers to check flight rights

01 April 2008

A girl sat on a luggage belt at an airport

Around 85% of lost bags are traced within a day or two

The atmosphere in Heathrow's Terminal 5 (T5) yesterday was calm as passengers saw an end to snaking check-in queues and delays at departures.

Travellers moved smoothly from check-in point to bag drop and on to security.

The Monday morning rush usually fills Heathrow's other busy terminal buildings to the seams but T5 looked almost empty.

Flights cancelled

But the calm comes at a price after British Airways (BA) was forced to cancel more flights again after a weekend of chaos.

The terminal is running at only 87% capacity with 54 flights cancelled and the airline has admitted that it cannot predict when the crisis will end.

The news comes after a weekend which saw dozens of scrapped journeys, thousands of lost suitcases, and complaints that some staff at the £4.3 billion building could barely spell the names of their destinations.

More cancellations

Yesterday, BA had yet to make a public pledge about the resumption of full service. 

Passengers flying today face more cancellations and will be kept informed by email and text.

BA chief Willie Walsh has vowed staff will not rest until Heathrow's T5 is working at a 'high standard'.

Lost cases

Mr Walsh said 400 staff had volunteered to come in on their day off to begin dealing with the 15,000 lost cases which needed to be reunited with their owners.

Many bags have been sent to Manchester Airport and airports in Scotland to be processed.

The luggage chaos at T5 is likely to cost BA £20 million to £50 million, according to analyst Andrew Fitchie, of stockbrokers Collins Stewart..

Which? advice

Which? Legal Service's Peter McCarthy urges passengers who've suffered delays or cancellations to remember their flight rights.

He said:'If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you are entitled to assistance. This can include free meals and refreshments depending on how long you are waiting. it also includes free hotel accommodation and transfers to the hotel if a re-routed flight means you have an overnight stay at the airport. 

'You are also allowed two free phone calls, faxes or emails and you may be entitled to financial compensation if your flight is cancelled, depending on the circumstances.'