Schiphol still struggling with suitcases; Crowds manageable
Suitcases are still remaining left behind at Schiphol, a problem which has been ongoing for months. The airport operator does not provide precise numbers on the number of orphaned suitcases, because this can quickly change from moment to moment. But the fact remains that more and more suitcases are being left behind, and need to be connected to their owners at a later date.
In early July, at the height of the Schiphol crowding and chaos, there were about 8,000 to 10,000 suitcases stuck at the airport without an owner. This backlog has largely been resolved. A few weeks later, Schiphol said that about 1,500 suitcases remained there, the last figure confirmed by the airport. Since then, Schiphol has not mentioned any precise numbers.
There are several causes for the suitcase problem. Schiphol has been struggling with a shortage on the labor market that coincided with the recovery of the travel sector. Due to a lack of staff, baggage handling operations have been less successful at getting suitcases to aircraft before departure. The luggage backup can be exacerbated when airplanes are delayed.
In recent months, people have also had to stand in line longer than usual, causing many to miss their flights. In that situation, their luggage must also be removed from their flight. Sometimes travelers board a plane very late, but their suitcases have already been removed from the cargo hold, with the bags then left behind. A large part of the suitcase problem is also caused by luggage that was held up elsewhere due to problems and then gets sent back.
Incidentally, the measures implemented by the airport have led to better crowd management at Schiphol. Previously, a maximum was set on the number of daily travelers that could depart from the airport.
New staff was also recruited. This has helped to reduce queues at the airport as recently as last week. Waiting times on Friday were about 45 minutes to an hour, according to Schiphol.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times