Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Wed September 23 2015

Judge Believes British Airways is Bumping Passenger Luggage for More Cargo

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | September 23, 2015

Judge Believes British Airways is Bumping Passenger Luggage for More Cargo

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An investigation into British Airways has taken a wild turn as the judge overseeing the case has withdrawn from his position due to a bad experience with the airline and a subsequent rant in his court ruling.

In a report from The Guardian, Justice Peter Smith of London is being investigated by a judiciary watchdog committee after he lodged a complaint in a written ruling while still overseeing a case involving British Airways.

Judge Smith removed himself from the case, which involved allegations of air cargo charges being fixed, after flying with the company and having his luggage left behind for almost two weeks.

Before he pulled out of the case, though, Judge Smith let his true feelings be known in his ruling, “The situation is that I do not know how a plane departs with all of the passengers’ luggage left behind, unless that is a deliberate decision. British Airways must know what the position is. I am promised some form of answer. If those simple questions cannot be answered in 12 days with expedition, I really feel for other people who have the misfortune to fly with British Airways.”

In a shocking allegation, Judge Smith stated that he believed the luggage lost by the British Airways partner airline had been “deliberately bumped off for a more profitable cargo.”

Following the comments and the Judge Smith’s decision to leave the case, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office is conducting a full investigation into the behavior of the judge in connection to the British Airways case.

Judge Smith recounted his experience with British Airways in his ruling, telling the court that he had booked two tickets for a flight from Florence, Italy, back to Gatwick Airport in England, but had to fly with Vueling, a partner of British Airways.

When the couple arrived home to England, the entire flight was informed that their luggage had been left in Italy without explanation. While Judge Smith did receive his bags 12 days later, he openly complained about the company’s commitment to customer service and acknowledged the stress all of the passengers dealt with due to the luggage issues.

Instead of allowing his personal feelings impact his judgment of the case, Judge Smith removed himself from the situation so he would not hinder the court’s ability to come to a fair ruling.

Even after recusing himself from the British Airways case, Judge Smith stated his desire to conduct his own investigation into the luggage issue privately, pursuing the notion that British Air may be purposefully bumping passenger luggage to increase its cargo profits.

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