Baggage In Milan

British Airways once ran an ad boasting that travelers could have breakfast in America and lunch in London, although there was always the suspicion that the baggage could end up in Milan.

Now, thousands affected by the chaos at Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 were told that their luggage has been deliberately sent there.

British Airways has a backlog of 19,000 bags and an Italian courier firm will be sorting through them and returning them to their owners.

"It is quicker for bags with European mainland addresses to go to Milan for sorting and onward transport than waiting for space to appear on flights leaving Heathrow," a BA representative explained.

Since its March 27 opening, T5 has been a shambles with hundreds of flights canceled. By April 2 the number was down to about 50 per day and BA was promising the problems would be over by the weekend.