British Airways IT failures create chaos for passengers
Send a link to a friend
[August 07, 2019] By
Andrew MacAskill and Paul Sandle
LONDON (Reuters) - Problems with British
Airways' IT systems left thousands of passengers facing flight
cancellations, delays and long queues at airports in the airline's third
major computer failure in a little more than two years.
Wednesday's woes are the latest in a string of problems at the airline,
which was fined $230 million last month for a huge customer data breach
and is bracing for potential strikes in a pay dispute with its pilots.
BA, owned by International Airlines Group <ICAG.L>, apologized to
customers for Wednesday's disruption and said its technical team was
working to resolve the problems as soon as possible. It urged customers
to allow extra time at airports.
More than 60 flights from Heathrow and Gatwick were canceled and more
than 100 were delayed, according to the departure boards at the two
BA would not confirm how many people have been affected by the IT
problems but said that it was experiencing a "systems issue" affecting
check-in and flight departures at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City
Customers have experienced issues checking in online, while others
complained of being stuck on planes unable to take off for hours.
Stuart Jackson, a photography business manager, said he was stuck on a
grounded plane at Heathrow and had already missed his connecting flight,
disrupting months of planning and wasting thousands of pounds.
"When I do arrive, I will have to just fly home again," he said on
Twitter. "BA is a complete catastrophe and I will never fly with them
A little more than a year ago BA was forced to cancel flights at
Heathrow, Europe's biggest airport, after problems with a supplier's IT
system. And in May 2017 a massive computer system failure because of a
power supply issue left 75,000 customers stranded.
[to top of second column]
Passengers wait in Heathrow Airport as IT problems caused flight
delays in London, Britain, August 7, 2019 in this picture obtained
from social media. Paul Trickett via REUTERS
BA Chief Executive Alex Cruz vowed after that incident that the airline would
take steps to ensure that computer system failures would never happen again.
British Airways said it has moved to back-up manual systems to keep some flights
operating and it is offering customers the chance to rebook for another day.
Customers, meanwhile, continued to voice their anger.
Paul Trickett, a passenger at Heathrow, said his flight to Copenhagen was
canceled. He waited in line for 90 minutes to see an agent before an
announcement told everyone to go home because no rebooking would take place at
Trickett had already been forced to rebook a flight from Tuesday after airport
staff had threatened to go on strike.
"It's pretty chaotic," he told Reuters. "It would be quicker by ship."
Jamie Boswell said his flight was canceled while he was attempting to check in.
"Very busy to rebook. Not ideal with a one-year-old," he said.
Passengers trying to get Gatwick were also facing delays because of an earlier
fire on railway tracks between Victoria and Clapham Junction stations,
disrupting one of the main routes to the airport just outside London.
(Editing by David Goodman)
[© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.