We All Need Conveyors

The great holiday rush is underway as people flock to airports all over the world. But in the midst of the rush, have you ever stopped to think what happens to your bag when you wave it goodbye at the check in?

The last you’ll see of the bag is it being conveyed away on a small roller belt, out of sight. Even here, if these conveyors should fail, there would be chaos. Happily, this isn’t where the issues usually happen – it’s behind the scenes where the action is relentless, and the consequences would be dire if anything went seriously wrong.

Heathrow Conveyors
Firstly, it’s important to understand the sheer scale of operations at an airport. For example, Heathrow has 30 miles of conveyors. These serve  44 baggage reclaim belts and travel through 2.8 miles of tunnel on a complete journey. It’s relentless, and around 53million bags are handled every year.

Bags that arrive too early (that’s anything over 3 hours before their due flight), are conveyed away to a storage area which can hold up to 4,000 bags. And then they’re returned to the right place in order for processing to the appropriate flight nearer the time.

Along the journey bags are tagged and scanned and loaded. And transfer bags undergo the same process inbetween flights too.

It’s a meticulous process, which relies completely on the smooth running of the machinery. So next time you load your luggage, spare a thought for the thousands of staff, the engineers, the handlers, the statisticians and the analysts who all combine to get your bags to where they need to be.

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