The start of the bank holiday getaway has been marred by queues, delays and confusion after a baggage system failure at Gatwick airport.
Scores of flights have left late, many of them without all the passengers’ bags on board.
A statement released on Gatwick’s official Twitter account said: ‘To ensure that everyone gets away on time, some flights are departing without all bags. Bags will be forwarded to passengers as soon as possible at their destination.’
Gatwick is the busiest single-runway airport in the world, and disruption can quickly cascade through operations.
A spokesperson for Gatwick said: ‘We are working hard to rectify the issue and get passengers on their way as soon as possible. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.’
Lost or damaged luggage compensation
The airport has said that it’s working hard to ensure that bags will follow passengers quickly, but it pays to know what to do should anything go missing.
For mishandled baggage claims, the liability limit of airlines is around £1,200 per passenger.
If you’re carrying something valuable, either get a ‘special declaration of interest in the delivery of your luggage’ from the airline or carry the item in your hand luggage.
Your lost luggage rights
If your luggage doesn’t arrive, you must also go to the relevant luggage-handling counter at the airport and complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR).
Before leaving the terminal, make sure to get a copy of this and also take the handling agent’s contact details.
The agent will be able to track your luggage using its barcode and should be able to tell you what’s happened.
Remember that genuinely ‘lost’ luggage is a bag with no ID, so make sure that your details – name, address or even just a phone number – are attached outside and inside.
Flight delay compensation
If your flight is delayed by more than three hours, you could also be entitled to compensation or a refund. Make sure you know your flight rights so you aren’t left out of pocket.