Delays with luggage reclaim at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport look set to continue into August
Suitcases have regularly been parted from their owners throughout the summer
Delays with baggage reclaim at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport have been a cause of an exceptional amount of annoyance for travellers this summer. Even though the worst backlogs have now been dealt with, at least at the national carrier Finnair hectic times are predicted to continue throughout the month of August.
Head of department Kari Kaijanen from Finnair says that air travellers have been afflicted with two types of luggage problems. "At times it has taken too long for the luggage to appear at the baggage reclaim conveyor belts. Occasionally the luggage has failed to appear altogether, and instead has remained at some stop-over airport."
For those suitcases that did make it to Helsinki-Vantaa, the passengers have had to wait in the baggage reclaim hall for up to an hour and a half.
According to Kaijanen, the baggage reclaim gets particularly jammed when there are many airplanes landing and taking off at the same time. During the peak hours between 14:30 and 17:30, up to six thousand baggage items may go through the handling system per hour.
To ease congestion, some of the baggage separating and handling functions have had to be moved outside the sorting hall, simply because of lack of space inside. This summer the congestion has been worse than ever before. Some passengers arriving in Helsinki this summer have seen huge piles of suitcases next to the carousels - presumably the luggage of unfortunates who went home empty-handed, only to have their cases sent on after them. London Heathrow and Paris CDG are famous for luggage problems, and what used to be a comfortable hour or so between connecting flights is these days often enough to break the logistics chain.
It has been estimated that 99.7% of all bags arrive in the normal way, but that 0.3% can be more than infuriating if all your clean clothes or your apartment keys happen to be in the missing luggage. Airlines traditionally do not provide compensation over and above transporting the late bags to their owner.