• EasyJet passengers at three airports can check in their bags the night before their flight.
  • This comes amid long lines for bag drop as airlines and airports struggle with understaffing.
  • EasyJet has cut back on its summer schedule, which it said was to avoid last-minute cancellations.

British budget airline EasyJet is letting passengers check in their bags the night before their flight as huge lines form at understaffed airports.

EasyJet has reintroduced the service – called Twilight Bag Drop – to London Gatwick, where it was on offer before the pandemic. It has also brought it to Bristol Airport and is offering it at Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Germany.

Airlines have delayed and canceled thousands of flights because of technical glitches, bad weather, and a combination of understaffing and soaring demand for travel. As well as lost luggage and problems accessing customer service, customers have complained about huge lines for check-in and security and airlines are encouraging passengers to get to airports earlier than usual to ensure they have time to drop their bags off.

EasyJet's service allows passengers on early morning flights to drop their hold bags off the evening before they travel, which means they can skip bag drop on the day of travel. The service is free, and EasyJet says bags will be stored in a restricted zone at the airport.

Twilight Bag Drop is available for flights departing before 8 a.m. from Gatwick, 8:30 a.m. from Bristol, and 9:30 a.m. from Berlin. Passengers can drop their bags off between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. the evening before the flight at Bristol and Berlin, and between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Gatwick.

The expansion of EasyJet's Twilight Bag Drop is part of a slate of measures the airline announced on Monday, aimed at combating the current travel chaos. 

To tackle congestion at the airports and provide in-person support for customers, the airline said head office staff are taking shifts working alongside ground crew at five of its biggest airports.

In addition, the airline said it has recruited an additional 350 customer-service operators, including opening a new support center in Italy. EasyJet says it has 2,500 customer-service operators globally, excluding in the UK, who respond to 21,000 requests a day.

In the six months to late March, the airline flew 23.4 million passengers, compared to 41.6 million in the same period in 2019. It said in May that it expected to operate at 97% of its 2019 capacity between late June and late September, but has since reduced this to 90%. The airline said that it cut back on its summer schedule to avoid last-minute cancellations, and attributed this to staff shortages.

Nearly half of EasyJet's flights were delayed on Tuesday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.

Have you been affected by current travel disruptions? Or do you work at an airport or for an airline that's swamped by staffing and cancellation chaos? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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