Tasteless food, turbulence, crying babies, potential drunk and racist co-passengers who really want another bottle of wine; apart from the fact that it’s the fastest way to get somewhere, flight travel doesn’t really have a lot going for it. There’s also the fear of lost baggage, a fear that was perfectly, and horribly exemplified, in a recent incident on a flight from England to Singapore.
A Norwegian Air plane, flying from Gatwick, Sussex to Singapore was to depart just before midnight on Monday, but the Boeing 787 aircraft was heavy with fuel for the 12-hour long journey. Gatwick airport has two runways, the main one and a shorter standby one, but the main runway was being temporarily closed between 10:30pm to 6am for maintenance work.
Since the plane was required to reduce weight so as to comply with preset performance limits, its captain ordered the bags of reportedly 70 passengers to be removed from the hold.
The Independent reported that Sophie Webb, who was flying to Singapore to take up a new job claimed that, at the end of her long-haul flight, she waited at the baggage carousel for quite some time before being informed of a list of “70 or more names” whose luggage had been left behind.
Webb then completed a “property irregularity report”, before leaving the airport. She was quoted, saying, “I rang the help desk in Singapore, but got no answer. I went to buy new clothes as had nothing to wear.” When her mother, back in the UK, got through to Norwegian, she was told the bag would arrive within five days.
Compounding the inconvenience, Webb was then told to claim any expenses from her travel insurance for any expenses, not the airlines.
Under the regulatory Montreal Convention, an airline, in this case Norwegian, is not liable for delayed baggage if it can prove it “took all measures that could reasonably be required”.
But wait, there’s more.
Gatwick Airport told The Independent that when ground staff was informed of the late departure to Singapore, they arranged for the airport’s main runway to remain open to accommodate take-off. Had this been known earlier, the baggage could have stayed onboard.
Air travel really sucks.