Chaos at Barcelona airport on last day of Christmas holidays

by Lorraine Williamson
Barcelona airport

The last day of the Spanish Christmas holidays is always a busy day at Barcelona Airport. It is the day that many Catalans return home after their holidays. However, the crowds, bad weather and a strike by Iberia’s ground staff led to chaotic scenes at La Prat airport on Sunday.

Iberia had warned in advance that it would cancel 444 flights due to planned strikes. However, due to the minimal service, other airlines of the International Airlines Group also had to cancel flights. Vueling, in particular, had to deal with problems.

The chaos affected passengers on the flight from Gran Canaria to Bilbao, among others. They were unable to land at their destination and ended up at the airport of the Catalan capital.

Lack of communication

Due to strong gusts of wind and high waves that battered the country, some flights were forced to be diverted to another airport. But, the affected passengers had few options to return home afterwards.

The passengers on the flight to Bilbao were not informed about the changed destination until they had already boarded. Many expressed their outrage at the airline’s lack of communication and felt “fooled.”

Baggage left behind

For the passengers on the flight to Bilbao, the chaos was compounded by the fact that the luggage had been left behind in Gran Canaria. Vueling offered the 140 affected passengers, who landed in Barcelona at four o’clock in the morning, a hotel stay. Due to the strike by Iberia’s ground staff, Vueling was unable to transfer passengers to another flight.

Cogesa Expats

The passengers did not receive any information about their return flight and their luggage on Saturday evening. Consequently, many returned to the airport on Sunday morning to ask for clarification from Vueling.

Going home by bus

Due to the lack of available seats, the airline could only offer its passengers to return to Bilbao by bus. The proposal sparked discontent among travellers, who complained about the “war of attrition for the elderly and children over the past 24 hours”.

It is not the only Vueling flight that was cancelled. The flight from Barcelona airport to Bilbao was also cancelled. The affected passengers of this flight also had to travel home by road.

In recent days, several flights between the two cities arrived at their destination without baggage in the hold. This was the result of the strike by Iberia’s ground staff.

Message from Iberia

The airline has said in a statement that “the company is doing everything possible to send the remaining luggage from Bilbao, Barcelona and Gran Canaria to customers as soon as possible”.

Also read: Major strike by “handling staff” at Iberia in Spain for the start of 2024

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