Flight takes off with 111 passengers, leaves luggage behind


A Swiss Airlines flight bound for Bilbao, Spain, created chaos for 111 passengers when it departed from Zurich without their luggage. 

The incident two weeks ago left passengers frustrated and bewildered upon landing as they stood by the empty luggage conveyor belt.

According to reports from The Insider website, the flight, operated by Swiss Airlines, took off from Zurich and safely landed in Bilbao. However, the passengers’ ordeal began as they disembarked and anxiously awaited their luggage, which had already passed security checks.

Where was the luggage?

Kavin Ampalam, the airline’s spokesperson, confirmed the mishap, explaining that a shortage of ground staff responsible for baggage handling had prevented the luggage from being loaded onto the aircraft. The decision to proceed without the luggage was made due to the impending ban on night flights, set to commence at 11:00 p.m., with the aircraft scheduled to return to Zurich with other passengers. Swiss’s subsidiary, Edelweiss Air, operated this flight.

Ampalam acknowledged the passengers’ frustration and inconvenience, especially for those traveling for vacation purposes. He assured that Swiss Airlines was actively reviewing its work processes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

How did it affect passengers?

Several passengers shared their experience with local media, noting that while the plane’s captain had apologized for the takeoff delay, there was no mention of the luggage situation. Instead, they were informed by personnel from the Spanish airline Iberia that their luggage had yet to make it to Bilbao.

The luggage eventually arrived in Bilbao, but not until two days later. One affected passenger expressed his disappointment: “My vacation was ruined.”

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This incident is not isolated; other airlines have faced similar luggage mishaps. 

In a notable case from last July, two low-cost Singaporean company Scoot flights took off from Athens to Singapore without passengers’ luggage due to concerns about extreme heat affecting the plane’s engine performance.