Paris airports plead with passengers not to abandon luggage

Cases of passengers abandoning their luggage have soared at Paris airports with bomb disposal units called out over 1,000 times this year alone. With scores of flights being delayed authorities are asking passengers to be more responsible.

Paris airports plead with passengers not to abandon luggage
Photo: AFP

Anyone who has regularly travelled through Charles-de-Gaulle or Orly airport will have no doubt seen soldiers clearing a security cordon around an abandoned bag until it can be made safe.

It's more than a daily occurrence and the numbers tell the story of the scale of the problem.

Paris airport authorities have revealed that the number of cases of passengers abandoning luggage has rocketed 77.8 percent between 2013 ad 2016.

“It's become a real problem,” said Augustin de Romanet from Aeroports de Paris.

In 2017 alone there have already been over 1,000 cases of abandoned luggage, which has prompted the intervention of the specialist bomb-disposal teams.

Each time a bag is abandoned security teams are forced to cordon off a section of the airport until the bag is claimed or deemed safe. Many bags are then destroyed if no one claims them.

That has a knock-on effect on flights with some 400 being delayed this year alone by an average of 53 minutes.

The phenomenon of passengers forgetting bags is not just caused by an increase in absent mindedness among passengers. It is linked to a rise in the number of passengers in general that pass through airports but also to the stricter security regulations that have been put in use as a result of the threat from terrorism.

But passengers abandoning luggage is also down to the strict rules around luggage imposed by airlines. Passengers who find they have too many bags or too heavier suitcases are not hesitating to leave them in the airport rather than pay a fine, much to the annoyance of authorities, airlines and of course other passengers.

READ ALSO: How abandoned luggage causes havoc at Paris airports

How abandoned luggage causes havoc at Paris airports

There are more and more companies that charge for luggage and from time to time people leave the bag because they don't want to pay for it,” said Franck Goldnadel, the head of Charles-de-Gaulle airport.

Those who run airport shops also lose out if they have to temporarily close because they stand within the security perimeter set up.

Aeroports de Paris, which runs the capital's two main airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly, have launched a poster campaign to raise awareness among passengers.

Last year Aeroports de Paris recently demanded that French border police try to cut the time it takes the bomb squad to intervene and give the all clear.

They also asked the border police to try to improve the time it takes for passengers to get through passport control, which if anyone has been through Charles de Gaulle in recent years knows can be lengthy wait.

But in the meantime the pubic have a role to play.

Don't leave your bag unattended, make sure you know exactly how much you can take on board before travelling to avoid the temptation to dump a bag at the airport and continue to alert authorities of any suspicious bags.








Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid

Budget airline Ryanair urged on Wednesday that Air France be forced to give up lucrative French airport slots if it receives more state aid.

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid
Could Air France be forced to give up airport slots if it accepts more aid from the French state? Photo: AFP

Paris is in talks with European Union officials on the delicate issue of state aid to the French flagship carrier, which has already received substantial help from the government.

“Should yet another enormous and illegal state aid bailout occur, then effective remedies must be applied to ensure fair competition in the French market and to protect the interests of the French consumer / visitor,” a Ryanair statement said.

The low-cost airline is based in Ireland and regularly underscores the amount of money being allocated to keep struggling rivals in the air.

In exchange for more aid, Air France must be prepared to give up “a substantial number of its take-off and landing slots at key French airports including Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly and Lyon,” Ryanair argued.

French officials and the European Commission are currently discussing the terms of a further recapitalisation of the Air France-KLM group, which has suffered from the Covid-19 crisis.

EU officials have already indicated that in exchange for their approval, Air France should give up coveted slots at Paris' Orly airport, which is essentially saturated now.

Air France on the other hand has indicated that such a move posed a serious threat because it was counting on Orly operations to help it rebound from the crisis.

French officials want to avoid putting Air France, which was struggling even before the pandemic, at a competitive disadvantage.

Ryanair urged EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to “stand firm in her discussions with the French government.

“Either Air France gets no state aid or proper remedies should be put in place to ensure a fair and level playing field for all airlines,” it insisted.