Airport chaos leaves Scots stranded on first day of school summer holidays

Scottish families have been left angry, upset and grounded as chaos at the country’s busiest airport caused them to miss holiday flights.

Passengers due to fly abroad on Saturday, the first day of the Scottish school holidays, were unable to board planes due to the “unbelievably long queue” to check in luggage.

Matt and Jill Storstein, from Perthshire, were set to fly from Edinburgh to Portugal with their three children for a two-week family holiday they had spent more than two years saving up for.

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They say they are “gutted” over the ordeal, and have had to shell out nearly £800 to purchase new tickets or face losing the £4,000 trip.

Despite waiting in the airport for almost 10 hours, they still do not have their bags back and are now concerned they will have to buy new clothes, toiletries, books and phone chargers before their new flights on Tuesday.

They were among at least 20 travellers who missed the same flight and say a lack of information and support made everything worse.

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Mrs Storstein, an acupuncturist, said: “Due to the utter chaos we missed our flight, along with about 16 other people due to be on it.

“We then spent the whole day in baggage reclaim with no one able to tell us anything about when we would be able to get our bags back or where they were.

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Baggage handling chaos at Edinburgh airport has caused travellers to miss flights on the first day of the school summer holidays. Picture: David Bruce

“No one cared, and everyone we spoke to said it wasn’t their problem.

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“We have a villa waiting for us over there, unused.

“I saved for this holiday for two and a half years – it was to be our last family holiday before all the kids go off and leave for university.

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“So even though we’ll be out of pocket, we decided to buy more flights.

“Who knows when we’ll get our luggage.”

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David Bruce and his family had booked a seven-day surfing holiday at a Portuguese resort.

They have also paid for new flights, and will lose two days of their break.

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They have also lost all of their wetsuits and beach gear.

They estimate the catastrophe has cost them an extra £1,500 on top of the original cost of the holiday, not to mention the long wait for their still-lost bags.

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“There seemed to be a complete underestimation of the traffic that would be coming to the airport on the first day of school holidays and an inability to react to problems,” he said.

“There seemed to be no contingency planning – awful management.”

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A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said the situation being experienced in the capital and across the world was a result of a “perfect storm” of circumstances, including shortages of workers, a major increase in the number of flights and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the issues were “unfortunate” and “not what the airport as a whole would want passengers to experience”.

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He added: “Although the airport has a full complement of staff for its operations, we know that some of our partners, such as handling agents, are still having issues and that shortfall clearly has an impact on how quickly passengers can be seen to or bags returned.

“We also aren’t being helped by other things such as lengthy delays on arriving flights, which throws schedules and rotas out of sync with what and who is available.

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“Aviation is a team approach and is interdependent on each player.

“The chain relies on each link to function for the whole process to go smoothly and the industry wide issues being faced, globally and nationally, will unfortunately be felt at all levels.”

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A spokesperson for Swissport said: “We understand this is a really frustrating situation and we’re working closely with our airline partner to reunite passengers with their luggage.”