The flight from London to Detroit was packed with luggage – with no passengers on board
The flight was packed with 1,000 pieces of luggage belonging to passengers who had recently travelled through Heathrow – but no passengers were on board.
The Airbus A330-200 flew to Detroit on Monday and the bags were then transported to their owners across the United States, in a move the airline described as a “creative solution”.
“We’ve gone as far as recently we had a separate charter just to repatriate bags back to customers that have been stranded because of some of the operational issues,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said on a conference call to discuss quarterly financial results.
Delta was able to carry out the operation after it cancelled a regularly scheduled London to Detroit flight on Monday.
Passengers were moved to other flights and Delta used the empty plane to retrieve the lost bags.
A Delta spokesperson said: “Delta teams worked 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.”
Staff shortages and an increased demand in travel this summer have caused plenty of travel disruption, including many cancelled and delayed flights.
Over the Fourth of July weekend in the US, there were more than 1,400 flight cancellations within or from the US, according to FlightAware.
Op Dinsdag, Heathrow Airport called on airlines to stop selling tickets for summer flights, imposing a cap of 100,000 daily departing passengers from the airport until mid-September.
“At Heathrow, we have seen 40 years of passenger growth in just four months. Ten spyte van hierdie, we managed to get the vast majority of passengers away smoothly on their journeys through the Easter and half term peaks,” wrote John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of London Heathrow in an open letter to passengers.
The CEO said “long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality and last-minute cancellations” due to the surge in travellers led to the “difficult decision” to cap passengers.