The effects of last weekend's strike on Majorca's tourists were apparent again yesterday after reports that some passengers are still waiting for their luggage, four days after their plane landed. Holidaymakers on flight AIH 8005 from Manchester checked their luggage into Manchester Airport at 05.50 on Saturday morning, expecting their flight to leave at 07.50. They were told that due to the strike the flight wouldn't leave until 17.15 that afternoon. Settling down for the wait in the airport and having a sleep, passengers were startled to hear over the tannoy that their flight had been unexpectedly brought forward again to 10.30am. All the travellers dashed to the departure lounge, only to be told that they wouldn't actually be allowed on board until 12.20. After waiting a while longer, the puzzled and annoyed passengers were told it was up to the pilot's discretion whether or not they could leave the airport. Eventually the passengers were loaded onto the plane at 11am, after being bustled back and forth for over five hours. The plane then sat on the runway for a further three hours, not taking off until 14.00. After such a display of bad organisation and bad management, the plane and passengers arrived in Palma at 17.30. Happy to be at their holiday destination they waited for their luggage, and waited, and waited. After an hour they were informed that their luggage was never loaded onto the plane in Manchester due to the delays and resulting confusion. Kenneth Shield, his wife, daughter and daughter's friend are understandably furious about the joke that they feel their holiday has turned into. “We've been so badly informed, we don't know what's going on,” he said. “We don't have anything to wear and we have had to buy all the essentials again out of our holiday spending money, toothpaste, shampoo and even flip flops.” The Shields and all other passengers who were on the same flight and who are now strewn around the island, have been waiting for four days for some news of their luggage. Every day they are told that it is expected in the evening but it never materialises, only one case has so far been located. Airtours, the flight carrier, is claiming no responsibility for the losses, blaming the situation on the tour operators Direct Holidays, in what is turning into a cat and mouse game. “We had our rep pinned to the floor the other evening, we just lost it because we're getting no information,” said Mr Shields. “I've read my insurance, I know that the tour operators have to reimburse us with emergency money so that we can buy new clothes and essentials, but we've been given nothing.” Gatwick Airport is still reporting delays but a spokesman said the situation should return to normal soon. “It's getting better. We have been battling just to claw back all the delays carrying over from the weekend,” he said yesterday. There was some good news yesterday however as striking coach drivers said they would try to avoid another walkout.


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