‘5,000 bags left every day’: German air passengers face luggage fiasco

As well as delays and cancelled flights, the shortage of airport and airline staff is also leading to large-scale baggage losses across Germany.

'5,000 bags left every day': German air passengers face luggage fiasco
"Baggage tracing" is written on a sign in front of suitcases and folded strollers in the baggage claim area in Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jonas Walzberg

The widely reported travel disruptions at German airports this summer is also having disastrous consequences on luggage transportation.

Understaffing on airlines and at airports means that passengers’ luggage is often being loaded onto the wrong plane, gets lost or is simply not checked in properly.

As a result, tonnes of bags are piling up in arrivals halls up and down the country and passengers are sometimes having to wait weeks to get their belongings returned to them. 

According to Bild newspaper, 5,000 suitcases from Lufthansa passengers alone are left behind at Frankfurt Airport every day. Some of these bags are now being transported by truck to Munich Airport because there is more capacity there to deliver the luggage to its owners.

Last Friday, a Frankfurt Aiport spokesman said: “At peak times, there is a four-digit number of pieces of luggage at the airport that have to be forwarded on to passengers.” 

A tweet by Welt newspaper on Sunday also showed thousands of bags waiting to be sorted at Düsseldorf airport.

Staff shortages at Munich airport are also leading to luggage pile-ups.

The airport is currently short of 160 baggage workers and the employees who are still there are currently overworked. 

One German travel website even reported a story about a family returning from the US to Munich who spent three weeks looking for their lost luggage – only to spot it in a newspaper report about chaos at the airport. 

A spokesman for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, Jan-Peter Haack, told Bild that stranded suitcases in the capital’s main airport are sometimes even disposed of, for example, if travellers are carrying food in their luggage and it begins to smell.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How long will the flight chaos in Germany last?

What should you do if your luggage goes missing?

Firstly, you should go to the baggage claim desk at the airport and fill out the so-called ‘Property Irregularity Report’. 

If the counter is closed, this can often be done via the airline’s website, or you can visit the counter in person the next day.

You should also report the problem to your airline as soon as possible. If you’re travelling with multiple airlines, make sure to notify each company to be on the safe side. 

If your luggage is found again, the airline will usually bring it home to you. If the airline does not provide this service and you have to pick up your luggage at the airport yourself, you can have the travel costs reimbursed; including parking costs.

If your luggage does not turn up at all, you are entitled to compensation – up to €1,395 per passenger.

READ ALSO: Air passengers in Germany face long waits and flight cancellations

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EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Germany’s capital launched its follow-up to the €9 ticket on Tuesday, but the ticket will only be valid for those with subscriptions. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Tickets for the new €29 Berlin city ticket went on sale on Tuesday and eager passengers will be wondering how they can get their hands on the discount offer. However, unlike the nationwide €9 ticket, Berlin’s travel deal will only be valid in the AB fare zone of Berlin and for customers with a yearly subscription.

Why has Berlin brought in the ticket?

The Berlin state government and transport companies in Berlin developed the ticket to set an example for climate protection and make public transportation more attractive for Berliners. The state of Berlin is financing the offer which will bridge the gap between the end of the €9 ticket offer and a nationwide successor which should arrive in January.

READ ALSO: Berlin gets green light to launch €29 transport ticket

Where and when will the ticket be valid?

The €29 ticket will be valid on all buses, trams, U-bahns and S-bahns within the AB fare zone in the city of Berlin. Those wanting to travel into the C zone will need to buy an extension ticket.

Who is the ticket for?

Some people might be disappointed to find out that the ticket will only be available as part of a yearly subscription. All other tickets will retain their usual prices.

That means that people won’t be able to buy a monthly ticket for €29 unless it’s part of a yearly package, so certain groups of people, such as tourists, may not benefit from the offer.

From October 1st to December 31st, 2022, the monthly price for the following subscriptions in the Berlin AB fare zone will be reduced to €29:

–   VBB-Umweltkarten subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   10 o’clock ticket subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   VBB company tickets with monthly and yearly payments

–   Education monthly subscription ticket with monthly payments

The offer will not apply to ABC semester tickets. 

How will payment for the ticket work?

According to information from BVG, subscribers who pay monthly will automatically be charged the lower amount, while compensation for those who pay annually is expected to arrive at the end of the promotional period.

Can I get a yearly subscription starting from October and still benefit?

Yes. If you sign up for a yearly subscription on the BVG or VBB website, starting from October, you will be charged the lower price for the first three months of the subscription. If you start in November or December, you will pay the lower price for just those months. 

What happens once the promotion is over?

For those who don’t cancel their subscription by December 31st, their subscription contract will run for a total of 12 months. However, passengers can also switch to another VBB fare product, to another fare zone or to the successor product to the €9 ticket, which is expected to be valid throughout Germany from January 1st.

READ ALSO: Germany to set out plans for €49 transport ticket in October

When can the subscription be cancelled?

It seems that people will be able to cancel their yearly subscriptions. The BVG website says: “If we were not able to convince you of our performance and you decide not to continue the subscription beyond the promotional period, you can cancel your subscription at any time at the end of the month without any disadvantages.”


Subscription – (das) Abonnement

Extension ticket – (der) Anschlussfahrausweis

Yearly – jährlich

Monthly – monatlich

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.