Belfast Telegraph

Wedding-bound couple's fury after airline leaves bags in Belfast

Alf and Oonagh Desire
Alf and Oonagh Desire
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A Belfast couple whose baggage was lost while flying to England for a family wedding were told by an airline to buy new outfits - but don't spend too much.

Oonagh Desire, from Belfast, and her London-born husband Alf, both in their 40s, were forced to shell out £300 for new clothes after British Airways told them their bags were "probably still in Belfast".

They had taken the 9.20am flight from Belfast City to London Heathrow on Wednesday. But upon landing they had to wait over two hours on the runway before disembarking and then finding out there were no bags on the flight.

With a family wedding in Derbyshire taking place today, Ms Desire said no explanation was given for the missing bags and that she had to press BA's customer service team, only to be told the luggage was "probably still in Belfast".

Adding to the frustration, the only information from the online bag tracker said "we are still searching for your bags".

Ms Desire said a customer service adviser then told them to "go ahead and buy clothes, but don't spend too much", without any guarantee of compensation.

The couple are also flying to New York on Tuesday, meaning they can't wait to have their bags delivered at home.

"They didn't even seem to think it was relevant to tell their customers that the reason they couldn't get the bags was because they were in Belfast," she said.

"That doesn't really help us to plan for what's next. It's not life-threatening but it is that frustration of not knowing how much you need to buy.

"There was no guidance on how much we should spend. I would say they really haven't helped themselves. They don't seem to think it's an issue that they can't say with certainty where the bags are.

She continued: "It feels like they're making it more difficult for themselves by not answering questions.

"Our understanding is that it's logged in the system that we don't have our bags, so when they find them they deliver them.

"It's fine in theory but they don't have any idea where they are. I was lucky in that my wedding outfit was in my hand luggage, but my husband had to run to a shop before we got the bus to Derbyshire. But it's everything from a suit to toothpaste."

A BA spokesperson said: "We're sorry for the delay in our customers' journeys yesterday, due to a system issue that affected some of our flights. Our teams are working hard to get their bags to them as quickly as possible."

The IT glitch caused over 100 flights to be cancelled or delayed on Wednesday, affecting tens of thousands of passengers trying to travel to or from Heathrow, Gatwick or London City.

BA said anyone whose flights were cancelled have either been rebooked or offered a refund.

Passengers were also advised to check the latest flight information in case of knock-on delays.

It's estimated that BA could now face a total compensation bill in excess of £8m if all those affected claim what they are entitled to under European Union Rules.

The threat of future disruption remains after British Airline Pilots Association members at BA voted to take industrial action in a dispute over pay.

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