British Airways suffered a major IT outage on Saturday, May 27, causing widespread confusion in addition to delays and queues for passengers around the world. The airline has canceled all its flights leaving from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports before 6 p.m. local time, according to NBC News. Outside of London, British Airways passengers were stuck on the tarmac for hours. Many passengers are furious and said they are unable to use the website or the app, which is causing them to miss their flights. The airline’s phone system was also down.
British Airways apologized for the airlines’ computer failure and said they are working to resolve the issue. British Airways canceled all Saturday flights from London’s two biggest airports after what it called “a major IT system failure.”
There are reports that hundreds of bags have reportedly been gathered and left unattended as British Airways staff try to take control of the situation. The airlines’ computer failure was confirmed earlier by a tweet by British Airways which stated the following.
“We apologise for the current IT systems outage. We are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
Several passengers took to social media to voice their complaints. Passengers at airports complained about a “blackout” at British Airways’ desks. Heathrow’s Terminal 5 was hardest hit, with passengers reporting large queues and delays. The outage came as thousands of travelers were set to make trips over The Bank Holiday.
Some passengers reported having to wait on planes while the crew attempted to get a grip on the situation. It seemed the computer issue did not appear to be restricted to the UK. There were reports of flights being affected across the world.
Flights before 1:00 p.m. ET (6:00 p.m. BST) were canceled, with more cancellations possible.
“The terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick have become extremely congested and we have canceled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick before 6 pm UK time today, so please do not come to the airports.”
It was reported that thousands of families had to fly off without their luggage after the baggage sorting system broke down. The Gatwick sorting system held up to 3,000 bags. The conveyor belt system that sorts bags before they arrive at the aircraft stopped working at around 5:00 a.m. and was not fixed until four hours later, according to the Daily Mail. One passenger said of the luggage, “@HeathrowAirport @British_Airways everyone’s luggage bags being gathered and left unattended. Completely unsecured.”
The chaotic events occurred in Britain’s second biggest airport. Heathrow’s Terminal 5 was hardest hit with malfunctions and according to International Business Times, these passengers reported extensive queues and delays. Several of the airline staff were forced to manually check each bag and put them on the right flight. Dozens of planes took off without all passengers’ luggage on board.
BREAKING: British Airways cancels London Heathrow and Gatwick flights for rest of Saturday because of major tech failure.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 27, 2017
Heathrow’s Terminal 5 was hardest hit with computer malfunctions. According to International Business Times, passengers reported the most extensive queues and delays.
One pilot described the situation as “catastrophic,” according to passenger Martyn Kent. Kent had been stranded on his plane for one and a half hours. “Anyone travelling Heathrow from Terminal 5 it’s carnage here all systems are down avoid!”
Tail, a 27-year-old teacher from London, claimed he had missed his flight to Rome because of the technical problems.
“I checked in online using the BA app at 8.15 for my flight at 9.25, then went and had breakfast… at some point the app restarted and when I went to go through security I couldn’t log in to my booking to get my QR code. This meant I couldn’t go through security, and by the time I’d gone back and forth to various customer service desks the flight had closed… I’ve tried to call customer services but their systems are still down so they weren’t able to help me, and they told me it was a worldwide issue.”
British Airways added that there was no evidence that the outage is the result of a cyber attack.
[Featured Image by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]