Chaos at Düsseldorf Airport as passengers forced to leave luggage behind

Passengers at Düsseldorf Airport had to fly without their luggage on board on Wednesday due to a major breakdown in the baggage system.

Chaos at Düsseldorf Airport as passengers forced to leave luggage behind
The luggage left behind was secured in the departure hall of Düsseldorf Airport. Photo: DPA

Around 2,500 suitcases were left stranded in the airport after a technical malfunction hit baggage handling facilities at the airport, local media reported Wednesday. 

It came during a busy time for the western German state: the school summer holidays started last week and many people are jetting off.

Passengers were notified of the problem with the baggage handling systems. Photo: DPA

As our pictures show, suitcases were left standing in the check-in hall on Wednesday morning because staff were not able to load them onto departing planes. Security employees cordoned off the luggage in a hangar in North Rhine-Westphalia's largest airport. 

According to an airport spokesman, five out of seven baggage handling systems were out of order between 3.30am and 8.45am. During that time only a limited number of baggage items could pass through the security check and be loaded onto planes.

Local news magazine tweeted about the chaos saying that not all suitcases could be loaded onto planes but that passengers would receive their luggage.

But there were no delays in flight operations, the spokesman said. However, some aircrafts took off without suitcases on board.

Now the suitcases have to be flown out to be reunited with their owners.

READ ALSO: Customs dog sniffs out €1.2 million in cash at Düsseldorf Airport

Luggage piled up at the airport. Photo: DPA

The spokesman said the baggage would be reloaded onto planes and handed back to owners as soon as possible. 

The problem was down to an error in the control software which caused a technical failure. Airport bosses are analyzing how this happened.

The luggage of arriving passengers was not affected by the chaos because it could be transported manually.

The federal police at the airport were initially not aware of any incidents, such as those involving disgruntled passengers. The airport spokesman said overall it was a “calm situation”.

However, eyewitnesses on the scene reported long queues at the check-in and hectic scenes as airport staff tried to sort the 2,500 suitcases that were left behind.

On Wednesday, flights carrying about 81,000 passengers to destinations including Mallorca, Tenerife and Corfu were planned in the airport schedule. 

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.