Over 1,300 lost suitcases located at Ben Gurion Airport

Lack of manpower at Ben Gurion airport has led to a stark increase in the amount of lost luggage this summer.

 A malfunction in the luggage security system has left hundreds of passengers stuck at the Ben Gurion Airport, on August 12, 2019.  (photo credit: FLASH90)
A malfunction in the luggage security system has left hundreds of passengers stuck at the Ben Gurion Airport, on August 12, 2019.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

Israel’s Airport Authority announced on Tuesday that the over 1,300 suitcases that were misplaced have been found and will be returned to their rightful owners. 

Lack of manpower at Ben Gurion airport has led to a stark increase in the amount of lost luggage this summer – the first summer since the COVID-19 pandemic that travelers have been able to travel freely into Israel.

The Aiport Authority added that through the help of third-party groups, they will continue to locate and return misplaced luggage to travelers from around the world.

Travel woes

Lost luggage has been among the chief complaints from tourists traveling to and from Israel over the summer, but there have been several challenges as the industry seeks a return to post-pandemic normality. Long wait times at the airport and flight delays have been on the rise not only in Israel but around the world in general.

 Luggage removal from a plane at the Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, Israel, on April 11, 2018.  (credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90) Luggage removal from a plane at the Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, Israel, on April 11, 2018. (credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)

According to the Israel Airports Authority’s spokesman Ofer Lefler, the airport is understaffed by about 1,400 people, and travelers hoping to jet-set this summer should “come with patience” and avoid bringing luggage that needs to be checked in to avoid even longer waits.

Worldwide crisis

Like many global airlines, El Al is suffering from a lack of manpower. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many airlines let large amounts of employees go as travel restrictions shuttered most flight routes. Difficulties in filling vacant positions post-pandemic have been tougher than expected.

The USDOT reported that almost six bags per 1,000 pieces of luggage checked in by passengers were at least temporarily lost by US airlines in April. The issue – especially across Europe – seems to be getting worse, as summer data has yet to be released.

Delta airlines last week sent a flight loaded with over 1,000 suitcases from Heathrow to Detriot for the sole purpose of transporting lost luggage. Across the globe in Australia, Qantas Airlines – who had to outsource baggage handling to private companies to fill staff shortages – is losing or failing to load up to 10% of their passenger’s luggage, an employee told The Guardian

London’s Heathrow Airport demanded last week that they were capping daily passengers at 100,000 and demanded airlines reduce their summer flight routes – a move Emirates airline called “entirely unreasonable and unacceptable” as the airport itself was unprepared for the spike in travelers and is now passing the consequences on to airlines.