A FORMER world darts champion has lodged a claim against a Scottish airline about the loss of his bag on a flight to Aberdeen for a charity event - as it launched a ‘baggage task force’ to recover lost luggage.

A group of Loganair workers are being sent to airports to find bags belonging to passengers who arrived at their destination to find that their luggage has not travelled with them.

It is a response to complaints received about lost baggage caused by understaffing around the UK blamed on a combination of redundancies made during the pandemic, Brexit-related labour shortages and strike action.

During the summer, passengers at Heathrow and other airports including Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester have reported persistent problems with huge queues to pass through security and lost hold baggage.

Three-time world darts champion John Lowe said he had sought compensation from Loganair for the loss of his bag - which contained his darts and his playing shirt - but has been told it was not the Scots airline’s fault.

Mr Lowe, now 77, who was world darts champion in 1979, 1987 and 1993 and held the world number one player ranking on four occasions, had to borrow arrows to take part in the event last weekend in aid of the Scots charity Clan Cancer Support at the East End Social Club, Aberdeen.

Mr Lowe had paid £200 for a flight from Manchester to Aberdeen and never saw his bag for four days.

After an investigation Loganair found it was still in Manchester and was told it would be returned last Sunday - but it did not arrive till Wednesday.

Mr Lowe said the airline had “let me down and blamed others” adding: “You should not be pleased you returned my luggage, you should make sure it came with me.”

He said: “The dreaded airport mayhem hit me, flying to Aberdeen. I had to check my luggage in because I have darts (dangerous weapons) I arrived, and yes, my luggage didn’t.

“I needed help, a set of my darts if possible, the response was magic.”

He added: “I can say, Loganair are apologetic, but say it is not their fault, they are not responsible for baggage handling at Manchester. My thoughts are with the other passengers who also waited in vain, they lost holiday luggage. Sadly we expect it to happen hoping it will not be us, it’s not nice and it should not be happening, words probably on deaf ears.”

After the bag returned he said he was not thanking Loganair.

He said: "I paid £200 for a ticket to Aberdeen, I arrived my bag didn't, I had to spend money on trousers, a belt, toiletries, etc, and borrow a set of darts, when I try to claim this from the airline, I am told it is not their fault. "

He told followers on social media: "The bag did not leave Manchester but it took four days to return it to my home, the industry is in turmoil at the moment, we are going on holiday shortly and to be honest dreading the moment we wait at the carousal for our luggage."

Glasgow Airport-based Loganair, which runs lifeline services to Scottish islands, had said that thanks to the efforts of the task force, Loganair had seen a marked reduction in baggage issues and complaints in recent days, and expected the situation to further improve over the coming weeks.

It said their taskforce was a response to complaints received like Mr Lowe's.

The airline said that baggage issues affecting Loganair have been caused by staffing and baggage system overloads at hub airports, which have come to the fore as demand for air travel surges back this summer. Loganair, which describes itself as the UK's largest regional airline, said it has a strong track record in terms of baggage handling and recovery, especially at airports where it carries out its own baggage handling in Scotland’s Highlands and Islands.

The airline is additionally seeking assistance from its customers, saying it has "become apparent" through the work of the task force that several missing baggage cases have arisen because customers on many connecting itineraries were not aware of where they need to collect their bags and re-check them - particularly when international connections involving the need to clear Border Force and Customs on first entry to the UK are involved.

They say, as an example, if connecting from an international flight to a Loganair domestic flight at Manchester, customers must collect their baggage and return to the bag drop desks once they have cleared Customs.

Jonathan Hinkles, chief executive of Loganair, said: “Loganair flies lifeline routes and offers essential connectivity across the UK. With that in mind, we couldn’t sit back and watch airport disruption in recent weeks without getting stuck in to find solutions ourselves.

Main John Lowe pic - Source YouTube (MDA Events)

“Our baggage task force has already driven to the hub airports most affected, working through hundreds of bags in secure storage until we locate those belonging to Loganair customers – which we then repatriate to its owner.

“Although we are the UK’s largest regional airline, we’re small enough to be able to do this and it’s important to us that we can support our customers in this way. Having been told that there were only three bags belonging to Loganair customers awaiting delivery at one airport, the physical search by our task force at that airport found over 100 more – and each and every one of those bags is now on its way back to its owner.”

He added: Mr Hinkles added: "We are confident that our new task force will help solve challenges currently faced across the travel sector.”

According to advice provided by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, when hold luggage is lost, delayed or damaged it is airlines who are liable for any losses.

However, there are no rules which fix the amount of compensation you should receive, as it depends on the value of what was lost, with the maximum being around £1000.

Its advice to customers says: "Most airlines will reimburse you for the bare essentials you need to buy when your bag is delayed. If you are away from home this may cover essential toiletries, underwear and laundry costs. If your bag is delayed on your return home, airlines may consider that your losses were less as you had clothes and other essentials available to you. Some airlines have a daily rate which they will pay per day your bag is delayed."