Passengers at Manchester Airport have been filmed climbing on to luggage conveyor belts in order to retrieve their own bags when they failed to appear after a flight.
In images shown in an episode of Dispatches on Channel 4, due to air tonight, anonymous passengers are seen climbing onto the conveyor belts and into the “airside” loading area and offering to help baggage handlers to get the bags moving.
“We’ve been waiting one and a half hours,” one exasperated passenger can be heard saying to airport staff. “I will just grab it and help you unload, if you want.”
“Do you want me to help you unload the bags? We’ve been here for an hour and a half,” another reiterates.
“We’ve got another flight to catch yet,” the pair explains. They say they have arrived on a Pegasus Airlines flight from Antalya, Turkey.
The extraordinary footage was captured a month ago, when a Dispatches reporter went undercover as a baggage handler at Manchester Airport to reveal the daily life behind the “travel chaos” headlines.
A fellow baggage handler told the reporter that he was being left to do a “two-man job” on his own, adding that the role was “daunting.”
“To be honest, I just don’t know how people do these shifts and these kinds of hours starting at 3am It’s absolutely brutal,” the undercover reporter says in the show.
“No one gives them much credit. But without them, no one’s flights will be taking off. No one will be going on holiday.”
Many UK airports have struggled to scale up to meet the demand for travel this spring, resulting in long queues, hours-long waits for luggage at baggage claim, and some missing flights amid the chaos.
In April, photos of piled up, abandoned suitcases at Manchester Airport emerged following days of slow queues and long waits for luggage.
In late June, Heathrow asked airlines flying from Terminals 2 and 3 to cancel 10 per cent of their schedules on one date, due to the mounting problems with its baggage handling.
Meanwhile, earlier this month Edinburgh Airport apologised after hundreds of missing bags belonging to holidaymakers were found abandoned in a warehouse.
Baggage handling company Swissport was holding the luggage at the site while it works through a major “backlog”.
And last week, the CEO of Frankfurt Airport suggested customers should avoid using black suitcases and travel with more colourful baggage, saying that high numbers of black bags were making it “hard to distinguish them from each other”.
In a statement to Business Insider, ground staff supplier Swissport said: “We are sorry for our part in the disruption some people have experienced at Manchester Airport.
“We are doing everything we can to mitigate delays for passengers, including hiring more than 4,100 people since January.”
The Independent has approached Manchester Airports Group for comment.