British Airways’ massive IT failure has caused unprecedented disruption for the airline which could last for several days, according to experts. British Airways is planning to have a “near normal schedule,” but warns of delays. On Saturday, May 27, British Airways suffered a major IT outage 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, according to NBC News.
Alex Cruz, the chairman and chief executive of BA, part of Europe’s largest airline group IAG, said there was no evidence of any cyber attack and said a power supply issue was to blame.
Outside of London, British Airways passengers were stuck on the tarmac for hours. Many passengers are furious and said they were unable to use the website or the app, which caused them to miss their flights. The airline’s phone system is also down. The computer system failure created widespread confusion and chaos and left thousands of passengers queuing for hours at the busy airports over the holiday weekend, according to Reuters.
British Airways said it aimed to operate a semi-normal schedule of flights from Gatwick airport and the majority of flights from Heathrow on Sunday.
“We are continuing to work hard to restore all of our IT systems and are aiming to operate a near normal schedule at Gatwick and the majority of services from Heathrow on Sunday… We are extremely sorry for the huge disruption caused to customers.”
Saturday’s airline computer failure was confirmed earlier by a tweet by British Airways which stated the following.
“We apologize for the current IT systems outage. We are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”
Angry passengers have been jammed at terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick airport with confused BA staff unable to help as they had no access to their computers. British Airways said they introduced more flexible rebooking policies for passengers who were affected by the IT outage over the weekend.
“We are refunding or rebooking customers who suffered cancellations on to new services as quickly as possible.”
Passengers stand with their luggage outside Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport after flights were canceled due to the airport suffering an IT systems failure. [Image by Jo Kearney/AP Images]
Computer glitches and outages have plagued British Airways and other airlines in recent months. In September, British Airways said a computer problem in its check-in systems caused delays and long lines at numerous airports, according to CNN Money.
Delta Air Lines canceled hundreds of flights after an IT outage hit their system and delayed many others last August. In addition to these airline computer crashes, last month, Germany’s Lufthansa and Air France suffered a global system outage which briefly prevented them from boarding passengers.
While other airlines have been hit by computer problems, the scale and length of BA’s computer problems were unusual.
Thousands Of British Airways Passengers Depart From Airport Without Luggage
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 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.”
Reports of hundreds of bags have reportedly been gathered and left unattended as British Airways staff try to take control of the situation.
British Airways confirmed the IT failure had led to a “significant number” of bags being left at the airport. It urged passengers not to return to the airport to collect their luggage, saying it would be returned to them via courier free of charge.
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 United Kingdom. There were reports of flights being affected across the world.
Flights before 1 p.m. ET (6 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.”
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 the hardest hit. The outage came as thousands of travelers were set to make trips over the Bank Holiday.
British Airways has advised the public to refrain from traveling to the airport on Sunday, May 28, unless they have a confirmed booking.
[Image by Emily Puddifer/AP Images]