While the aviation industry groans under the weight of increasing travel demands and a severe shortage of staff, a video that tells of the exciting journey to a stray piece of luggage has captivated TikTok viewers.
TikTok user @jackatyou captured the nail-biting incident from a Delta Air Lines showroom at Nashville International Airport, where a suitcase fell off a vehicle on its way to the plane, causing a great deal of anxiety among spectators.
The clip documents that at least three airport employees in vehicles pass the pink suitcase on the asphalt, occasionally examining it before throwing it away and driving off. When a “hero” finally picks up the forgotten luggage, the passengers in the lounge cheer, which brings the saga to its triumphant end.
The video, which has been viewed more than 6.3 million times, highlights how an industry struggling with today’s growing travel demands can be more vulnerable to such oversights.
The level of mishandled bags increased by 24 percent worldwide in 2021, according to a recent report from the aviation technology company SITA.
The resumption of international and long-haul flights contributed to a significant increase in delayed, lost and damaged luggage, according to the report’s findings.
The study also noted that downsizing of airlines and airports affected the resources and quality of baggage handling, which, unaddressed, may see the level of mismanagement continue to increase.
“The industry must now do more with less. When we emerge from the pandemic, customers ‘focus remains on safely managing end-to-end transportation of passengers’ luggage, but now they must also reduce the total cost and training required,” he said. David Lavorel, CEO of SITA.
“There is significant pressure to increase operational efficiency, which is accelerating digitization.”
Qantas apologized this week to customers affected by luggage delays over the Queen’s birthday weekend, with some travelers waiting almost a week for luggage to arrive.
A spokesman for Qantas noted the role of airports in the bungalow: “During the long weekend we saw a number of baggage delays caused by the failure of baggage systems, which are maintained by the airports in Sydney and Brisbane.”
Transport Workers’ Union Secretary of State Michael Kaine said the recent chaos at airports is a consequence of the mass exodus of experienced aviation workers over the past two years.
“Standing security and ground workers were deprived of JobKeeper in an eleven-hour Morrison government surcharge, forcing many to leave the industry,” he said.
Kaine added that the problem has been driven by the firing of thousands of ground crews during the pandemic. Qantas recently lost an appeal against a ruling by the federal court that found the airline’s outsourcing of 2,000 ground crews illegal, even though the airline plans to fight the ruling in the High Court.
“The lack of permanent, full-time jobs in favor of low-paid, casual or part-time work leads to chronic understaffing,” Kaine said.
“Workers are tired, forced to hurry, and under these conditions delays, errors and injuries are inevitable.”
The union is asking the federal government to introduce a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to regulate working conditions and attract quality candidates.
Meanwhile, Australian airports are scaling up recruitment work ahead of the busy holiday season in July; Airports in Melbourne and Sydney have turned to job fairs to fill thousands of vacancies, while Brisbane Airport is also working to recruit more frontline staff.
Australian airports recommend that travelers arrive at least three hours early for an international departure and to prepare for long waiting times at check-in and security.