Delta Air Lines was forced to charter a plane to send 1,000 delayed check bags back to American customers after canceling regular service from London to Detroit.
The move was the result of a new policy at London’s Heathrow Airport imposing a 100,000-person departure limit per day until Sept. 11.
After passengers at Heathrow were rerouted to alternate flights on July 11, Delta filled an Airbus SE A330-200 with their luggage — and only their luggage.
The plane flew to Delta’s Detroit hub, where the bags are being shipped nationwide to be reunited with their owners.
Delta officials have mentioned this improvised solution.
“Recently we had a separate charter just to repatriate bags back to customers that have been stranded because of some of the operational issues,” CEO Ed Bastian told listeners on a quarterly earnings video call that was cited by the Daily Mail.
British airports like Heathrow are facing challenges similar to those of their U.S. counterparts. For Heathrow, the trouble started in March, when “bosses struggled to hire enough staff amid widespread labor shortages in the UK in the wake of the pandemic,” according to the Daily Mail.
Delayed luggage isn’t the only setback flyers face as a result of the staffing crisis.
“Affected passengers will not be entitled to compensation, as the reason for the cancellations will be classified as being outside the control of airlines,” the Daily Mail said.