Tensions rose and the police were called in to Manchester Airport's Terminal One, although no arrests were made, as baggage handlers took hours to return the bags of hundreds of tired holidaymakers.
Manchester Airport said the delays were caused by the arrival of four flights in a short space of time, all of which were slightly delayed, causing a backlog.
According to Manchester Evening News, three Jet2 flights and one easyJet flight landed in quick succession at around 11.40pm on Friday. However, the travellers' bags were delayed for hours in the baggage handling process, so they were forced to wait by the conveyor belts for their belongings to arrive. Passengers on the first flight to land could not start to reclaim their suitcases until 1.50am. Passengers on the easyJet plane, which landed at 1.30am, did not get to pick up their bags until 2.38am.
Travellers described scenes of "chaos" and said the organisation had been a "shambles." Passengers said that one man had climbed on an out-of-use conveyor belt to try to gain access to bags.
According to the Daily Mail, one passenger said: "People were not happy. It was unbelievable that we were waiting for that length of time. Children were crying because pushchairs were still on board and there was nowhere to sit. Children screaming was all we could hear. Nobody could give us any answers."
A spokeswoman at Manchester Airport said the planes were all carrying around 200 people, and that they had all landed within 20 to 30 minutes of each other unexpectedly, which meant an unusually high number of bags to come through. She added that the airlines involved both used the same baggage handler, Menzies Aviation. The company was not available to provide comment.