A PILOT has warned passengers that there is now a greater risk of checked-in luggage being left behind at airports this winter.
The anonymous flight captain also said there was a greater chance of passengers missing their flights if they’re even the slightest bit late to the boarding gates, even if it isn’t necessarily their fault.
Ordinarily, if passengers or luggage are slightly held up at the airport for one reason or another, pilots are permitted to keep boarding gates open and wait for them to be loaded onto the plane.
However, new instructions reportedly given to Ryanair pilots mean that they are no longer permitted to request that the gates remain open to allow delayed passengers or their luggage to get on board.
The Mirror report that a memo was sent to plane staff ordering them to no longer ask for permission to keep boarding gates open less than 15 minutes before a scheduled take off.
A pilot told the publication that a lot of people, especially families, could be affected by the change.
They said: “It’s potentially a lot of people (who will be affected). It will be the stragglers, the families with pushchairs and the elderly who are struggling. The busy family with young kids.”
The pilot said that upcoming border force and baggage handler strikes will only make things worse.
They continued: “When these strikes take place, the strikes are going to cause even further delays in the airport, and that will compound the problem.
“Passengers will be delayed and be late to the gate. Ryanair is saying ‘gates shut 15 minutes to go’. Most of the pilots I’ve spoken to will happily wait the extra few minutes if there’s been a delay.”
The shift in attitude could leave more people stranded in airports, with strikes later this month expected to leave flights grounded.
Airlines have been told to cancel flights because of border force walkouts.
Staff at major UK airports have announced the action, with the first round taking place from December 23 until Boxing Day.
Then further strikes will take place between December 28 and New Year’s Eve, putting thousands of families’ Christmas travel plans at risk.
More than a fifth of flights could be grounded, with 15,000 border staff members expected to take part, which could leave those with plans for Christmas breaks completely stuck.
Airlines have been told by officials to cancel up to 30 per cent of journeys scheduled on strike days to limit airport chaos, the Times has reported.
The airports affected will be Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow airports and the port of Newhaven.
Baggage handler walkouts will also affect travel at Heathrow for 72 hours from 4am on December 16, affecting ten major airlines from terminals 2, 3 and 4.
A spokesperson for Ryanair told Sun Online Travel: “It is standard procedure that we close our boarding gates on time, so that we can deliver an on time departure for the overwhelming majority of passengers that arrive on time.
“Due to Air Traffic Control staff shortages across Europe, if we miss our take-off slot, it could delay the flight by up to three hours.
“It is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure that they arrive to the gate on time.”
With bags now more likely to get get lost in airports, it gives passengers even greater reason to only travel with hand luggage and to get to airports with plenty of time to spare.
However, there are some simple things that could help you get through the airport a little bit quicker and safer.
She suggests passengers should turn right when arriving at airport security.
Often there will be two choices of lines to stand in to have your belongings scanned, one to the right and another to the left, but most people for some reason choose to turn right.
That leaves the lines on the left much shorter, with far fewer people standing in them.
Nicole’s tip was supported by a self-proclaimed airport expert, who explained why people tend to prefer the queue on the right.
According to the person, who is a user on online forum Quora, we subconsciously pick which side to line up on depending on our dominant hand.
They said: “Because they are mostly right-handed, people choose the right line while the left one is often less busy.”
Meanwhile, this big airport mistake could delay passengers this Christmas.
Another big airport error could end up costing passengers money.
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