An investigation is under way after a Manchester Airport flight to Sweden departed almost three hours late - without the luggage, according to passengers.
David Gummers, from Kendal, flew from Manchester to Stockholm on September 17 with Scandinavian Airlines. Paying nearly £700 for a business class ticket, the plane set off three hours late but landed two hours and 50 minutes after it's scheduled arrival.
The slight improvement in landing time meant he and his other passengers were unable to claim compensation on the flight, due to a three-hour minimum delay required for Scandinavian Airlines to consider returning any funds. However, the problems didn't stop when the plane landed in Sweden, as passengers' luggage had been off-loaded in Manchester due to a problem with the smoke detector in the hold.
"The fact this was business class or economy doesn't matter and the fact that things went wrong doesn't matter," David told LancsLive. "It's the fact that the plane left three hours late and arrived two hours and 50 minutes, which meant we couldn't complain any compensation because it had to be longer than three hours.
"Then we got a message on our phones that the luggage hadn't been loaded."
David admits these problems do occur when travelling, but it was the airline's response that caused his frustration. The music manager says things could have been resolved in the airport if staff had collated their information and dealt with it there and then. Instead, David says the passengers went to the customer service desk, and they were given a card and told to sort it out online for themselves.
"It wasn't the fact things went wrong, it took me eight weeks to get an apology from them," David says. "That was only because my MP wrote a letter to them. I think, that even though there was no legal entitlement to compensation, I think a good company would have given us £200 to £250 for goodwill and that should have been given to all of the passengers."
Luckily, David's luggage was on the next flight and returned to him within 24 hours, but any longer and this could have been a bigger problem as the businessman was set to fly off to South Africa following his visit to Sweden.
He added: "The thing is that they didn't acknowledge the fact that there was stress and inconvenience and all the rest of it. At the end of the day, it's not my fault or any of the passengers' faults when things go wrong. It's how you deal with a problem. Had they rung me up, taken the details and followed up saying your case will be with you the next day, I wouldn't have even bothered. Things do go wrong in life."
David took it upon himself to work with an artist to design a poster on the situation, which he says subsequently got him blocked on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Scandinavian Airlines. David said: "To give 100 people a card and say do it online, I would say it's shameful.
"I think shameful is the right word because they should have said, right we've got this wrong. The fact they had a smoke detector problem in the hold and the reasons for off-loading the luggage was quite acceptable, obviously with no smoke detector and if there was a problem, the pilot wouldn't have known about it.
"I'm not knocking them for off-loading the luggage, but I am knocking them for not actually saying, we'll deal with this, give us your mobile number and we'll tell you exactly when and where your luggage will be delivered. It could have been so much smoother. I got my luggage in time, but it added so much stress."
LancsLive contacted Scandinavian Airlines, which confirmed it is investigating what happened with David's journey and luggage. A spokesperson said that while further investigatory work was needed to comment on his case specifically, it was 'of course very unfortunate if our passengers don’t get the service they can expect from us'.
They added: "We strive to give our customers excellent service and always do our best to look after them. If we have failed to do so we will definitely look into the matter and make sure we work hard on assuring it doesn’t happen again. We continuously look at our processes and procedure to see what we can improve when and if needed."