Airline passengers causing delays by taking more bags and liquids on flights, says boss of Heathrow

Business Insider US
People wait in long queues for security at Heathrow Airport on June 1. Carl Court/Getty Images.
People wait in long queues for security at Heathrow Airport on June 1. Carl Court/Getty Images.
  • Heathrow Airport CEO told LBC the delays are because of passengers taking more bags and liquids on flights.
  • He said people are packing more liquids over fears about losing their checked-in luggage.
  • Staffing issues are also adding to airport delays, John Holland-Kaye told LBC.
  • For more stories go to

Airport delays are the result of passengers bringing more luggage and liquids through security, according to the CEO of one of Europe's busiest airports. 

Passengers travelling this summer from London Heathrow Airport, a major global travel hub in the UK, previously told Insider about their flight delays, cancellations, and lost luggage nightmares.

John Holland-Kaye, boss of Heathrow, told the Leading Britain's Conversation (LBC) radio station on Tuesday that the long queues at the airport were caused by passengers "travelling with more than they normally would." 

He told LBC that people were also packing "more liquids in their bags so that takes a little bit longer."

Asked about why passengers are carrying more liquids, Holland-Kaye told LBC: "A lot of people are put off from checking in all of their makeup, for example, because they are worried about whether their bag will make the journey with them."

Over the past month, many air passengers have reported their luggage has gone missing. One told Insider their missing bag contained their parents' ashes, while another said her wedding dress was inside her lost suitcase.

On the subject of delays, Holland-Kaye told LBC that people need to be educated on what they can and can't carry in hand luggage when they're taking a flight. The UK government's rules state that each passenger is allowed a one-litre transparent bag to put their liquids in, he said in the interview. Some people forget that makeup falls into the liquids category, he added.

As well as extra luggage and liquids, staffing issues are also a factor behind the airport delays, Holland-Kaye told LBC. Heathrow has been on a hiring spree and now has the same amount of workers in airport security that it had pre-pandemic, he said in the interview.

"A lot of them are new so they are taking time to settle in," Holland-Kaye told LBC.

Having said this, Holland-Kaye told LBC there aren't enough baggage handlers to meet the current high demand, adding that the airlines decide which ground handler companies to work with, not the airport.

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