Up to 2,000 suitcases remain abandoned at Schiphol Airport
The problems are literally piling up at Schiphol airport. Passengers arriving at the airport last week again saw hundreds of suitcases unattended between the baggage belt. And that is just the tip of the iceberg because most suitcases, wheelchairs, strollers, and surfboards are in the central storage, AD reports.
Every day, dozens of people physically go to the airport to try and get their luggage back because airlines and baggage handlers can’t help by phone, if they can be reached at all. “It is unbelievable. The people you get on the phone don’t know anything at all,” a Canadian traveler said to the newspaper. “There are far too few of them, and they are not managed. They are very nice, but they can’t really do anything for you.”
Exactly how big the baggage problems are is difficult to estimate. The newspaper reached out to all eight baggage handling companies at the airport. Only Swissport gave a substantive response. “We have a backlog of about a thousand suitcases,” the company said. “That number fluctuates because every time we get rid of a lot of them, new ones come in.” According to the Swissport spokesperson, the other baggage handling companies face even more significant problems.
KLM, which handles its own baggage, denies that there are major problems. The airline told the newspaper that it has almost eliminated its backlog. At the peak, there were 7,000 suitcases left behind. Now it has about 1,850.
According to KLM, the baggage chaos has many causes. There was a malfunction in the Schiphol baggage system. “In addition, many passengers missed their flights because of the huge queues at security.” So their suitcases had to be removed from the flight, meaning extra loading and unloading time. That delays the plane’s departure and also its return to Schiphol. “As a result, our network is disrupted, and incoming passengers miss their transfer flight. It also happens that transfer passengers make it to the flight, but their bags do not. And so the suitcases pile up.”
Schiphol itself said that it helps airlines and baggage handlers solve the problems where it can, but “it is up to them to return the suitcase to the traveler” because the airport doesn’t have access to travelers’ data. According to the airport, at the peak of the problems, about 10,000 suitcases were left behind at Schiphol. Now there are around 1,500.