A Swiss International Air Lines plane arrived in Bilbao, Spain, on Saturday, Sept. 9, with all of its passengers but none of their checked bags.
The flight departed from Zurich, but the bags never left, Kavin Ampalam, spokesperson for Swiss International Air Lines, told Insider.
Where were the suitcases left?
According to Swiss-German newspaper Blick, the passengers waited for their luggage for more than two hours by the baggage conveyor in Spain without any information as to what was happening.
After the long wait and with no airline crew members in sight, representatives from the Spanish airline Iberia were the ones to inform passengers that the plane arrived in Bilbao without a single piece of passenger luggage, per Blick.
Blick reported that the flight left Zurich an hour and a half late, which the pilot explained by citing a “shortage of skilled workers.“ Nothing about the luggage being left behind was ever announced to passengers.
Ampalam told Insider that the luggage problem was also caused by staffing issues. It couldn’t be loaded into the plane because of “a lack of ground staff,” Ampalam said.
Why were the suitcases left behind?
Ampalam told Insider the decision to leave the bags was made because the same plane had to fly another set of passengers from Bilbao to Zurich before the night flight ban at 11 p.m.
Ampalam added that the crew waited for over an hour for the bags to be loaded before making the decision to leave without the luggage.
“I just find it arrogant to knowingly ruin people’s holidays like that. Because it has to be done knowingly,” one of the passengers affected told Blick.
“We deeply understand the frustration and anger of the passengers, especially because many of them were traveling on vacation,” Ampalam told Insider, noting that the airline is “currently reviewing our processes to prevent such cases from happening again.”
All the luggage that was left in Switzerland was flown to Bilbao on Monday night, per Insider.