August 14, 2022
Delta A330 Flies Only Bags across the Atlantic

Delta A330 Flies Only Bags across the Atlantic

DALLAS – The global airport staff crisis is surely a troubling reality, especially across Europe, and one of the major consequences is missing and lost baggage.

In particular, London Heathrow Airport’s (LHR) baggage flow has broken down, and several thousand bags remain stranded across the airport. Most passengers are making their journey without their bags accompanying them. DL, however, came up with a solution to get all the fliers’ bags back. So what was it?

Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Delta Air Line’s Plan

Delta deployed one of its very own aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 registered as N854NW, to fly from LHR to Detroit solely to transfer stranded bags back to the states.

As stated by Business Insider, “Delta teams worked on a creative solution to move delayed checked bags from London-Heathrow on July 11 after a regularly scheduled flight had to be canceled given airport passenger volume restrictions at Heathrow,” a company spokesperson said.

The Airbus A330 was scheduled to fly a regular London-Detroit run, but given the critical state of LHR, an announcement on capacity was put into force that meant Delta had to cancel this flight and make the most of the A330 sitting at LHR. Given the number of stranded bags, why not ferry all the bags back?

DL9888 flew without any passengers but hauled across the Atlantic 1,000 bags. Upon reaching Detroit, all the bags were delivered to their owners.

LHR. Photo: Ferrovial

London Heathrow Breaks

Nobody knows the true count of stranded bags at Heathrow; it’s in the tens of thousands, be it thanks to a shortage in staff or a malfunction of the baggage system. Heathrow had no other option but to limit passenger flight movement to regain control of the situation, thus capping the limit from July 12 until September 11.

Some 100,000 Heathrow passengers will be walloped by the new cap and face flight cancellations. The airport has also communicated to various airlines to stop selling too many tickets to keep the number under control.

Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the airport should have gotten its act together after airlines predicted a strong rebound in traffic.

They clearly got it completely wrong,‘ the former CEO of British Airways (BA) told Reuters.

Featured image: Delta Air Lines N854NW Airbus A330-200. Photo: Mateo Skinner/Airways

EASA commercial pilot | Flight Instructor | Aviation Journalist & writer based in Germany.

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