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Passengers sans baggage

india Updated: Dec 21, 2006 02:23 IST
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Debjani roy, a Delhi resident and head of the human resource department of a multi-national software company, has been unable to attend her office meetings, all because she travelled from London to Delhi two days ago.

Roy, like 150 other passengers, had taken a British Airways flight (BA 257) from Philadelphia to Delhi on December 17, with an eight-hour transit at Heathrow airport, London. While Roy reached Delhi on December 18 at 10.30 am, her baggage is yet to arrive. "I had three pieces of baggage, including my laptop and other important official documents. Now I am unable to attend office meetings and presentations," Roy said.

"The airline did not bother to call up and inform me about the baggage status," she said. "During the transit at Heathrow, I went to check if my baggage has arrived but the British Airways staff there did not bother to inform me," she said.

When Hindustan Times called up at the London headquarters of British Airways, its officials admitted that on Sunday, December 17, there was a breakdown of one of the baggage belts at London Heathrow's Terminal 4. As a result of this some passengers did not receive their bags. The airline also said that the process of returning bags to passengers has been hampered by the severe fog at the airport.

"I have received just one bag as of now and that too because I went to IGIA to find out about the latest status. The airline should have informed me," Roy said.

"We are experiencing some disruption to our flights due to severe fog at London Heathrow. All long haul flights are operating as normal, and some of our domestic and European services have been cancelled," a British Airways spokeswoman said. "We sincerely apologise to all customers whose baggage has not been returned to them. We have got a backlog of baggage at London Heathrow's Terminal 4 as a result of a breakdown of the airport's Terminal 4 baggage system," she said.

She said the airline is using volunteers from across the airline to support their baggage teams and working through the night to re-process the baggage and ensure it is flown or driven to its final destination as quickly as possible. "Many of the bags for India have already been returned to customers. We hope to have all passengers reunited with their baggage as soon as possible," she said.

Email Sidhartha Roy: sidhartha .roy@hindustantimes.com

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