A significant amount of lost or mishandled luggage at Auckland Airport this week has left passengers infuriated just days before Christmas.
One passenger, who has asked not to be named, says she has been waiting a week for her and family's luggage after returning home to Auckland from Canberra on December 12.
The woman said she turned up to Auckland Airport yesterday hoping to find her bags but there was just one staff member helping people.
"We were told by an airport staff member there is only one staff member manning the Swissport lost baggage desk and he showed a video of at least 12 people inside lodging forms and finding out about lost luggage.
"He said there were hundreds of bags inside and showed us a video of the terminal with bags piled up on trolleys. He said that no one would attend to the outside queue until the inside line had been dealt with."
She said there were also cardboard boxes laid out flat for people to sit on "because they knew how long we would have to wait".
The woman added that people waited for more than six hours at the airport yesterday and if you tried to ring the airport, it went through to answer phone.
Another passenger with lost baggage, Raymond Marrero, posted to social media saying he had his family travelled to New Zealand on December 7.
He said all of their luggage, including his six-month-old baby's stroller, was lost. He said the other bags have managed to be located but the stroller is still missing.
"We tried calling and emailing several times but we did not get a reply. After spending hundreds of dollars buying new clothes and a new stroller, we feel really disappointed and frustrated.
"We are still in New Zealand. We are travelling back to Germany in January, but we cannot help but feel uncomfortable when thinking about such a bad experience," he wrote.
Auckland Airport's response
Auckland Airport's Libby Middlebrook told 1News there is continued disruption to passengers arriving in New Zealand because of mishandled baggage.
"It’s an issue Auckland Airport continues to be concerned about, recognising how frustrating it can be for customers to lose their bags. We are working with airlines and their ground handlers to see what can be done to resolve it.
"Airports are ecosystems, and it’s always the responsibility of airlines to take care of customers’ bags and ensure they reach the right destination."
She said when bags go missing, airlines work with their ground handlers to find lost baggage and return it to customers.
"Auckland Airport’s advice to travellers is to pack any critical items (medications, high value and irreplaceable items) in their carry-on hand luggage rather than placing it in check in luggage."
Air New Zealand's response
Air New Zealand Auckland Airport manager Andrew Leckie also told 1News this is the first summer in three years their full network is operating and airports are very busy.
"We’re expecting to welcome 2.8 million passengers this summer - we carried just 1.1 million last year. Like other international airlines, we are currently experiencing a high volume of extra baggage."
Leckie said to help alleviate some of the pressure, additional resources and volunteers have been put in place to support the baggage handling teams.
"It’s a challenging time as we navigate high demand and we are so grateful for the patience and support of our team and our customers while we work through this period."