A plane flying from Zurich to Spain this weekend arrived without a single piece of luggage on board, without the passengers’ knowledge, media reported on Sunday, as the airline blamed a shortage of ground staff.
Passengers on the Swiss Airlines flight to the northern Spanish city of Bilbao waited on the conveyor belt for more than two hours on Saturday evening for their luggage to appear, in vain, the Blick daily reported.
Swiss airlines spokesman Kavin Ampalam confirmed that the plane, which Swiss had operated on behalf of Edelweiss Airlines, had taken off with 111 passengers but no luggage on board.
“There was a shortage of ground staff,” he told AFP, adding that crews had been waiting for the situation to be resolved.
But after “an hour and 16 minutes the situation was still unchanged and for operational reasons we decided to fly to Bilbao without luggage”.
The reason, he explained, was the need to pick up passengers in Bilbao and take the plane back to Zurich before the airport closed for the night.
“We understand that the situation is not favorable for the people involved, and of course we regret the inconvenience,” he said.
Blick, meanwhile, quoted passengers as saying the pilot had apologized for the delayed take-off in Zurich, blaming “a lack of qualified personnel”, but said there was no mention of the decision to leave the luggage behind.
Passengers told the newspaper that there had been no Swiss staff on the ground in Bilbao and that they had subsequently waited for more than two hours for their luggage before staff from Spanish airline Iberia told them the plane had landed with no luggage on board.
“Our holiday has been ruined,” passenger Carsten Redlich told Blick.
Ampalam said he could not confirm that passengers had not been informed of the decision to leave luggage in Zurich.
“We are still analyzing the situation to find out exactly what happened and how we can improve it,” he said. “This shouldn’t be happening.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)