Auckland Airport photo shows stacks of lost luggage

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Auckland Airport photo shows stacks of lost luggage

Photographs have emerged showing an “outrageous” amount of lost luggage piling up at Auckland Airport.

As the bags sit there accumulating dust, travellers continue to search in vain for their missing luggage in the wrong places or wait anxiously for news from the airline.

Passenger Debi Flutter told Stuff.co.nz that her daughter Samantha filmed the piles of unclaimed items while she was looking for her own missing bag on December 3.

It had vanished during a flight from Istanbul to Melbourne, and she had been told by Qantas and Emirates it would catch up with her in Auckland.

After spending three weeks waiting for her bag, Samantha went to the airport to try to find it herself. That’s when she decided to film the mind-boggling sight that greeted her, with lines of trolleys overflowing with bags, including car seats strollers and surfboards sitting against the wall.

“The room was just stacked with hundreds, if not thousands of things belonging to people,” Ms Flutter said.

“There were suitcases, surfboards, kitesurfers … things that are vitally important to people and that cost huge amounts of money. It’s an outrageous amount.”

She was told there weren’t enough staff to process all the items.

Luckily, she had been able to find her bag, but she’s concerned about all the other passengers who aren’t as fortunate as her.

“We understand there’s a shortage but surely it’s the responsibility of airlines that charge huge amounts of money to get that personal property returned,” she said.

The airport is concerned about the larger-than-usual volume of missing bags, but said it’s the responsibility of the airlines.

“It’s an issue Auckland Airport continues to be concerned about, recognising how frustrating it can be for customers to lose their bags,” a spokesperson said.

“We are working with airlines and their ground handlers to see what can be done to resolve it.”

The issue is due to staff shortages, causing travel disruptions and luggage delays. The lifting of Covid restrictions related to travel also played a major role in the chaos, as airlines struggled to replace staff who were laid off during the pandemic.

The airport is advising travellers to pack any medications, high value and irreplaceable items in their carry-on hand luggage rather than checked baggage.

Meanwhile passenger Sarah-Rose Burke said her bags, which didn’t make it onto the same Qantas flight as she did, are still sitting at the airport too.

“I left Manchester on 10 December and was supposed to get to Wellington on 12 December,” she told news.com.au.

“I didn’t get to Wellington until 14 December. My bags didn’t make any of the flights and have been sitting in Auckland Airport since 15 December – I have an air tag so I know it’s there sadly but it hasn’t moved since.”

She’s hoping to get them back soon as they contain special gifts, including for her nephew’s first ever Christmas.

Other passengers took to Twitter to voice their concerns about their missing bags.

“Bags sitting in Auckland Airport but no way of contacting anybody and no contact from Air NZ. Help! Holiday of lifetime is anything but without bags,” one wrote.

Another said, “Y’all should freaken fix your customer response. Six hours on the phone with no answer regarding lost baggage and four hours at Auckland Airport trying to find out where our bags are. No response to emails. That poor woman at the Air NZ counter said she’s the only one working.”

Qantas has been contacted for comment.

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