Qantas passengers refuse to check-in luggage after disturbing video of Swissport baggage handlers
Carry-on luggage rates are expected to soar even higher after disturbing video of baggage handlers tossing Qantas passengers’ belongings sparked nationwide outrage.
Travellers have vowed to avoid checking in baggage and test the limits of carry-on restrictions as airlines and airports brace for their busiest travel period of the year over the Christmas period.
Recent research has revealed a growing reluctance among passengers to not check-in luggage due to growing rates of mishandling and increased costs.
Concerns have been renewed after shocking footage emerged of baggage handlers carelessly throwing passengers’ luggage onto a conveyor belt at Melbourne Airport.
The trio have since been stood down as Qantas and ground handling service Swissport Australia launch an urgent investigation into their conduct.
Carry-in luggage rates are predicted to soar as travellers express a growing reluctance to check-in baggage (pictured Qantas cabin crew)
The footage which quickly gone viral worldwide sparked widespread outrage with many travellers vowing to never check-in their baggage again.
Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine understands travellers’ fury but jumped to the defence of Swissport workers who are ‘under extraordinary pressure’ in a low pay and understaffed environment.
A recent TWU survey of 165 workers revealed 75 per cent of Swissport workers will consider leaving the industry if concerns about pay, mass staff shortages conditions and safety aren’t addressed.
‘Ultimately, the only way for the travelling public to have peace of mind that they’ll receive quality service at our airports is for the federal government to address the structural issues in this industry,’ Mr Kaine told The Australian.
‘Instead of obscene executive salaries, we need a ‘safe and secure skies commission’ to refocus aviation towards the benefit of customers and workers.’
Qantas insists the airline has recorded a 15 per cent increase in checked-in luggage compared to pre-Covid levels and that its mishandled luggage rate remains at six for every 1000 bags.
A recent International Air Transport Association survey of more than 10,000 travellers worldwide revealed more than 40 per cent had experienced mishandled luggage in the last 12 months.
Around 80 per cent said that would be more likely to check-in luggage if if it could be tracked while 50 per cent have used or would be interested in using an electronic bag tag.
Three baggage handlers who were caught carelessly throwing passenger’s luggage onto a conveyor belt have been stood down
Travellers have become more reluctant to not check-in luggage due to rising rates of mishandling, costs and environmental concerns (pictured, passengers at Sydney Airport)
Travel tech company Amadeus has identified travel without checked-in baggage as one of the top five travel trends for 2023.
It’s due to not only check-in luggage costs but also travellers becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint.
Vice president of global corporate marketing Daniel Batchelor expects this trend to grow and evolve.
‘Multiple trolley-loads of designer luggage are no longer a status symbol – quite the opposite,’ he said.
‘Hotels and resorts are increasingly offering the hire of bulky items, such sports equipment and workout clothes.
‘Alongside this, travellers are looking to buy essentials from the local destination, supporting and engaging with the community in the process and further ensuring they have meaningful travel experiences.
Travel tech company Amadeus has identified travel without checked-in baggage as one of the top five travel trends for 2023
Flight Centre Corporate Traveller managing director Tom Walley also revealed smart travellers are avoiding checking in their bags to help reduce the risk of any issues.
‘Business travel is a comprehensive undertaking, usually jam-packed with meetings and events, leaving little to no time to file a baggage claim or purchase new clothing if luggage fails to arrive,’ he told Corporate Traveller.
‘To navigate the current climate, it’s a smart idea use carry-on luggage wherever possible. Fortunately, there are myriad ways executives can pack lightly and strategically to avoid checked baggage.”
Mr Walley urges travellers to pack to the maximum carry-on weight amount, pack multipurpose items and wear your bulkiest clothing for the flight.
Meanwhile, the baggage handlers who were caught carelessly throwing passenger’s luggage have been let go as Qantas and ground handling service Swissport Australia launch an investigation into their conduct captured at Melbourne Airport.
Qantas said the behaviour was ‘not acceptable’ while a Swissport spokesperson added immediate action had been taken against the men.
The staff filmed tossing travellers’ luggage have been let go as Qantas and ground handling service Swissport Australia launch an investigation into their conduct
‘Swissport trains and manages all staff to handle customer possessions with care and diligence,’ they said.
‘The actions of staff in the video appear to have contravened those service level standards.
‘As a result, the staff in question have been stood down pending an urgent investigation.’
In the footage, a handler is seen hoisting a bag high above his head before slamming it down so hard that it bounces – much to the amusement of his co-worker.
The same handler then tosses a small suitcase several metres into the air and onto the belt, as if shooting a basketball.
At least two bags were thrown off the conveyor belt, disappearing out of view, without any worker appearing to care.
The footage was uploaded to TikTok on Friday where it racked up more than 590,000 views, with many horrified at the lack of care for travellers’ luggage.
One TikTokker asked ‘is this like a competition who can destroy luggage the fastest?’, while another declared the workers ‘should be terminated on the spot’.
One TikTokker asked ‘is this like a competition who can destroy luggage the fastest?’, while another declared the workers ‘should be terminated on the spot’
‘You’ve got to be kidding me! Bet they would kick a stink if someone treated their stuff this way,’ another said.
‘It would actually take more effort to lift it and throw it with force, rather than just put in on the conveyor. If they don’t like it, find another job,’ one wrote.
‘When are they going to get fired?’ commented another.
‘So wrong on so many levels, these men need to be held accountable.’
Another said cameras should be permanently installed to film the actions of baggage handlers.
Swissport employs more than 68,000 workers at 315 airports in 50 countries.
An internal Swissport memo was also provided to Daily Mail Australia, in which the company’s CEO Brad Moore said ‘The behaviours in the video let all of us down’.
Swissport says that its team members work ‘together to ensure our clients’ expectations are achieved or exceeded’ on its website (stock image)