1,000 bags. Zero passengers. Delta flight from Heathrow latest sign of air travel hell...

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
New York (CNN Business)Delta Air Lines took what it called a "creative" step to solve a massive baggage problem for passengers flying through troubled Heathrow Airport. Others might call the move extreme: the airline flew a plane from London to its hub in Detroit packed with 1,000 lost bags and zero passengers.

A staffing shortage that has caused a service meltdown at Heathrow in recent weeks has now been dubbed "airmageddon." Airport authorities have responded to the canceled flights and massive lost baggage complaints by telling airlines they must cap the number of passengers at one of the world's busiest airports to 100,000 a day.

So Delta figured out a way to get the lost bags out of the airport, even though it couldn't take more passengers.

"Delta teams worked a creative solution to move delayed checked bags from London-Heathrow on July 11 after a regularly scheduled flight had to be canceled given airport passenger volume restrictions at Heathrow," said a statement from the airline. "Delta flight 9888 from Heathrow to Delta's Detroit hub flew 1,000 bags back to the United States, where teams then forwarded the bags on to our customers."

The passenger-free flight was first reported by the New York Times.