SWISS flight to Spain departs without checked luggage

Fedor Selivanov /

It is common for checked-in bags to go astray at airports while en route to their final destination. 

However, what is far less common is for an airline to lose every single one of the bags checked in by its passengers on a given flight. 

But was what happened to passengers on a flight from Zürich Airport (ZRH), Switzerland, to Bilbao Airport (BIO), Spain, on September 9, 2023. 

Edelweiss flight WK 226, which was operated by an aircraft from its parent company SWISS, departed Switzerland with no bags on board. The issue was caused by staffing issues at the airport, which meant that bags could not be loaded on time for the aircraft’s departure. 

Swiss media reports that the decision was taken to depart without bags because further delaying the flight would mean reaching the night flight curfew at Zürich Airport. A delay would have also heavily impacted on the aircraft’s rotation as well as the rest of the airline’s schedule.  

However, it appears that the 111 passengers on board were not informed of this decision, and they only found out upon landing in Bilbao, resulting in uproar.  

SWISS promised that all luggage would be transported to its final destination in two different batches and within 48 hours of the incident. 

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