British Airways chaos could linger for a WEEK as airline tries to clear backlog sparked by more than 100 flight cancellations – with IT glitch set to cost the company £8million in compensation
- British Airways suffers yet another IT meltdown – its third in recent weeks – leaving 20,000 people stranded
- Airline forced to cancel 117 flights to or from Heathrow plus 10 Gatwick services with 300 more jets delayed
- BA passengers were stuck in the UK, Europe and globally with some walking off planes in protest at failure
- Social media packed with messages from irate people stranded by BA with holidays and weddings in ruins
- BA rolled out ‘cost effective’ IT system in October 2015 – but since then problems has cost more than £100m
- Have you been hit by the BA delays? Email [email protected] or 02036151866
British Airways’ IT meltdown could cost them £8million in compensation as the beleaguered airline admitted today they may need up to a week to find new flights for its 20,000 stranded customers.
The UK’s national airline was branded ‘pathetic’ after customers at Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Manchester, Edinburgh and Newcastle airports were told to ‘go home’ and reschedule after its check-in system collapsed again.
BA’s latest IT crash at around 4.30am today – the third in recent weeks – has already led to 127 cancellations and more than 300 delays of up to five hours.
MailOnline understands the problem with check-in software and computer systems required for its planes to take-off have still not been fixed with the airline not yet able to guarantee flights will be back to normal tomorrow.
The airline could face a compensation bill in excess of £8million if all those affected claim what they are entitled to under European Union rules.
BA rolled out its ‘cost effective’ IT system in October 2015 – but since its launch it has caused a host of problems costing the company more than £100million and tarnishing its reputation.
Architect Allan Ross says he been forced to spend £880 on new Ryanair tickets from Stansted after BA scrapped his Heathrow journey and only offered him a replacement flight later this week – meaning he’d miss a family wedding.
He told MailOnline: ‘We were not notified before we got to the airport. There was nobody giving any information. We grabbed a BA rep who told us to queue with 200 people. Five minutes later we were told to leave the airport and given a brochure about flight cancellation. We were referred back to the BA website which again was down, the phone numbers were jammed and we had no option but to book another flight from Stansted a few hours later, as we are attending family wedding and just needed to get there’.
Darren Rowe was among the passengers queuing at Heathrow Airport today where he descriobed the situation as ‘chaos let loose’ and said BA’s response to the crisis was ‘pathetic’
At Gatwick people were unable to check-in with many told to go home and rebook on a new flight in the coming six days
BA’s latest IT failure – the third in recent weeks – has already led to 127 cancellations (pictured on Heathrow’s check-in boards) and led to more than 300 other delays at British airports and abroad
Have you been hit by the BA delays? Email ma[email protected] or call 02036151866
After yet another IT meltdown at BA, it emerged:
- BA still working to fix ‘multiple’ problems with its IT systems;
- Thousands of passengers were affected after the airline axed 117 flights due to operate to or from Heathrow and 10 at Gatwick, while delaying more than 300 other flights on Wednesday.
- More flights to and from America, India, Japan and Europe were also delayed;
- Irate passengers stuck on grounded jets walked off them in protest – while families were left without food and water;
- Customers being told they can book on to new flights over the next six days but many say their holidays will already be ruined;
Family off to Barcelona only told their flight was cancelled AFTER they went through security
Furious bank manager Simon Chapman, 43, was due to travel from Heathrow to Barcelona with his children Violette, 14, and 11-year-old Jack.
He paid £350 for their tickets on the 9.25am flight – only to realise it had been cancelled after they went through security.
Mr Chapman then had to fork out £160 on a taxi from Heathrow to Gatwick, spending a total of £900 on flights and travel just today.
And staggeringly he was then told by workers they were not listed on the 2.40pm flight – after queuing for an hour and a half.
Mr Chapman, of Reading, Berks, said: ‘It’s unbelievable really. I booked this back in April.
‘We’d got through security and it was only by chance I looked at the information board and it said our flight was cancelled.
‘There were no more flights to Barcelona from Heathrow, so Gatwick was the closest place to book from.
‘I was told by BA staff at Heathrow to re-book and they would reimburse me, so I did.
‘Then when we got here, and after queuing for ages, they told me we’re not even on the flight.
‘I’ve forked out £900 more than I needed to spend and I’m not even seeing anything for it.
‘I just hope we get there today. I think there’s going to be a delay on the flight.’
Mr Chapman said he has also spent 200 euros on day trips while away, including a tour of FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium.
Today the airline apologised for the chaos and revealed it has already been forced to cancel 117 flights to or from Heathrow while 10 Gatwick flights were also shelved with a giant digital sign used to tell victims to ‘go home’ because short haul check-in is closed before Midday.
Darren Rowe, from the Cotswolds, said his 10.20am flight to Hamburg from Heathrow for business meetings was cancelled before ‘all chaos let loose’.
He said: ‘There were massive queues, it was queue here, queue there, nobody was saying anything. The lack of information was just pathetic’.
On top of the 127 cancellations more than 300 other flights were delayed, with some more than five hours behind schedule and problems expected all day.
Lines of people stuck at Gatwick and Heathrow check-in snaked around terminal buildings with James North, who is due to fly to Heraklion, Crete, today telling MailOnline: ‘It’s not the world favourite airline – it’s now the world biggest airline queue’.
Customers were also stuck at London City, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and other BA hubs in Britain – but passengers across Europe as well as in Japan, India and the US were also hit by delays or cancellations.
Irate passengers took to social media to vent their fury and revealed their dream family summer holidays and even their weddings could now be in ruins with many vowing ‘never to fly BA again’.
Parents with children also claimed they were treated ‘like cattle’ after being left stuck inside airport gates without access to food or water with no clue about if and when they could leave.
Matt Knopp wrote: ‘BA – wtf? Flight cancelled due to continuous system issues you seem totally inept to sort out for the past three years. Get a f**king grip!’
The IT failure – the third similar problem for BA in recent weeks – has stopped people getting away on holiday or even for their own weddings as many flights were either delayed or cancelled.
BA has denied it is a global IT outage but passengers as far afield as Japan, India, the US and across Europe are stuck.
Laura Izzard tweeted: ‘What’s happening with the Pisa BA604 flight from Heathrow, screen just says please wait… no one can tell us anything …. Little stressed at the moment, especially as I am flying over to get married’.
Stephen Gibbons posted a photo of the cabin of a grounded jet meant to be flying from Scotland to London today and said: ‘Been stuck on the ground in Glasgow for an hour now. People finally just walking off the plane’.
And Cris Penfold wrote: ‘Sat on a @British_Airways plane which won’t take off – the crew don’t even know why. No idea when we will actually fly #pleasejusttakeoff #sortitout’.
There was chaos at Heathrow (pictured) and other BA hubs today as its IT systems failed again leaving 20,000 stranded
There was similar chaos at Gatwick where holidays and business trips were left in ruins with delays of in excess of five hours
Passengers on his flight from Newcastle to Heathrow were left milling around for two hours after their flight was grounded due to the ongoing IT problems – some stormed off
BA casualty Karthik Eyan was left sleeping on the floor at Heathrow after being told his summer flight has been delayed
BA customers flooded social media with tweets calling the situation ‘shambolic’ and ‘pure chaos’ and blasting the lack of information given up by the airline
BA customers flooded social media with tweets calling the situation ‘shambolic’ and ‘pure chaos’ and blasting the lack of information given up by the airline with many vowing ‘never to fly BA again’
Fire on London rail tracks causes more travel misery
Holidaymakers had faced a struggle even getting to Gatwick after the Gatwick Express train service from London Victoria was cancelled.
A fire on the tracks between Victoria and Clapham Junction saw all early-morning Southern and Gatwick Express trains cancelled.
‘Heavy residual delays’ were expected to drag on and commuters were advised not to travel to the rail station, Southern said.
Tim Willcox said passengers were ‘seething’ as he endured a ‘nightmare’ start to a planned short break in Nice, France, with his wife Najah.
The BBC presenter was stranded on the 5.30am Gatwick Express for 20 minutes outside Victoria, put on another train which was also cancelled, and, as a result, missed his 7.25am flight.
He told PA: ‘Most flights are now either fully booked or have shot up in price or involve stopovers.
‘I’m now on a bus. It’s just proving a bloody nightmare. I can’t afford to spend £1,000 on two flights.
‘We’ve got car hire waiting, a hotel booked. We’re now looking at flying to Paris and then flying from Paris to Nice.
‘There was a complete lack of communication from Gatwick Express, there was a very rude staff member who just wouldn’t answer questions. People were seething.’
The airline has been dogged by IT problems since upgrading its systems in 2017 with the worst failures hitting up to 75,000 people and costing owner AIG around £80 million.
On that occasion, the airline cancelled 726 flights due to a power failure, sparking a raft of compensation claims for flight costs, train and hotel expenses, replacement clothes and toiletries.
British Airways has said the systems problems has hit check-in and flight departures and customers will be offered alternative flights over the coming week.
In a statement, they said: ‘We are working as quickly as possible to resolve a systems issue which has resulted in some short-haul cancellations and delays from London airports.
‘A number of flights continue to operate but we are advising customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information before coming to the airport.
‘We are offering customers booked on short-haul services departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City today, the opportunity to rebook to another day.
‘We are encouraging customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information, and to allow additional time at the airport.’
Frustrated passengers took to social media to vent their anger and demand answers from BA, while shared photos showed airport terminals filled with stranded travellers.
“There is no staff at the airport, we’re in an info queue that isn’t moving,” Anya, a BA passenger bound for Zagreb, Croatia, stated on Twitter.
“The only staff around are the duty free staff and they’ve been more helpful than anyone at BA. Get your act together #britishairways!”
A Heathrow spokesperson said BA was experiencing “a technical issue with its systems” impacting check-in and departures there.
“We are working to support the BA team and passengers impacted.
“We understand this is incredibly frustrating for passengers and encourage them to check with British Airways for the latest information.”
Huge queues formed at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 5 this morning as British Airways systems failed after yet another IT glitch
Queues in the South Terminal at Gatwick snaked towards the main entrance with people warned that there would be delays and cancellations until at least 3pm
Liz Waugh posted this photo of her ordeal while stuck on a plane at Bologna airport in Italy as BA grounded flights
Some people gave up and walked off planes going nowhere and complained that they were given no information from BA staff
The airline has apologised and said they will allow customers to rebook for another day in the coming week
People will be offered opportunity to rebook to another travel day between August 8 and August 13.
Long list of failures: BA’s painful history of IT glitches
British Airways rolled out a ‘cost effective’ IT system in October 2015.
But since its launch, the system has caused a host of problems costing the company more than £100 million.
Workers say it crashes ‘all the time’ and check-in staff are regularly reduced to tears by its glitches.
– The new BA ‘FLY’ system first broke down on June 19 2015, just weeks after first being introduced.
– The system then suffered another failure on July 7, 2016. Two-hour, seven-lane queues formed at all BA check-in gates at Terminal 5 at London Heathrow.
– Less than a week later and the check-in system broke down yet again. On July 13, lengthy queues formed once again at Terminal 5, Heathrow, after the ‘FLY’ system suffered further technical problems
– Five days later it broke down once again and on this occasion TV presenter Phillip Schofield was among those to berate the airline for the delays. The IT glitch also hit Gatwick and caused huge queues as hundreds of thousands of families start going away for their summer holidays. Long queues snaked across terminal buildings as irate passengers said BA workers were nowhere to be seen or ‘pretending to be on the phone’.
– In May 2017 an IT engineer allegedly failed to follow proper procedure at a Heathrow data centre and caused ‘catastrophic physical damage’ to servers leaving 75,000 stranded across the globe. The outage lasted just 15 minutes but it stopped online check-in, grounded planes and broke baggage systems and meant BA was unable to resume a full schedule for four days. More than 670 flights were cancelled, costing the company £80 million.
– There were seven BA system failures in total in 2017. Crashes on June 19, July 7, July 13, July 18 and again on August 2, meant huge delays and cancellations for its customers.
– In 2018 furious passengers blasted BA after airline cancels tickets to the Middle East they bought months ago saying fliers should have realised the £167-return deals were a glitch.
– In July 2019 British Airways was told it will have to pay a record £183million fine for a data breach that saw card details of more than 380,000 customers stolen from its website and app.
– Days later holidaymakers headed overseas for their summer break had to leave their bags behind at Heathrow Airport following problems with luggage handling systems. Passengers including former comedian Eddie Izzard tweeted their frustration and posted pictures of cases piling up in the luggage hall.
The problems first emerged at 4.30am this morning when BA customers tried to check-in for the first flights of the day across the UK.
At Gatwick the queue of BA passengers is nearly stretching outdoors on to the concourse at the airport’s South Terminal, with BA passengers being placed in a separate queue to other travellers.
Staff are guiding passengers on where to queue, and the moving walkway has been shut off.
One member of staff was overheard telling a passenger flying at 3pm to come back no earlier than 1pm to get into the departure lounge.
Melanie Dixon, 49, is travelling to Las Vegas for a four-day holiday with her three young children.
The hairdresser, from Dartford, Kent, said: ‘My app stopped working this morning and I had no idea why. I just thought it was a problem with mine.
‘I didn’t know what was causing the queue until now. We only arrived around 9am and it’s got bad really quickly.
‘This is our first holiday abroad as a family and it’s not got off to a good start. Once we’ve been waiting a bit longer the kids will start getting restless.
‘We were so excited, but this has put a bit of a downer on our holiday.
‘We just want to get through to departures so we can get some breakfast and drop our cases off, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon.
‘It’s not going to be a good experience. BA have hundreds of flights everyday. They should be coping with this much better. You would hope they can sort it out quickly.’
Retired retail worker Denise Hiller, 59, is travelling to Tampa in Florida with husband John, 63, who used to work in oil refinery.
The couple, from Salisbury, Wilts, paid £1,300 for their flights and a hire car on the other side.
Mother of three Mrs Hiller said: ‘We’ve been here since about 8.50am, and we’re due to fly at 12pm but that doesn’t look likely.
‘This isn’t good for BA – it’s not the staff’s fault, but the problem shouldn’t be happening.
‘We’ve not been given any information on how long our flight is going to be delayed.
‘We’ve spent £1,300 on this, and now there’s not much we can do other than wait and hope we take off at some point.
‘When we walked in and saw the queue, it was like ‘oh great’.
‘And it’s the school holidays so it’s much worse. I really feel for the families travelling with young children – it’s awful for them.’
Video courtesy of CBS12.
Jon Rapoport, 54, is travelling to Lanzarote for 16 days from Gatwick with his wife and their two children.
The catering company boss, from Oxford, said: ‘Nobody knows what’s going on. I’m sure the staff are handling it as best they can, but there’s no information being given to us.
‘They’ve just told us to stand in the queue and that’s it.
‘There’s no information on the website either. It’s ridiculous. ‘First there was the strikes the other day, which I thought we’d been lucky to avoid, but then you get this.
‘I’ve actually checked-in on the app but I’m still being told to wait in the queue.
‘This is the last time I’ll be flying with BA. Why am I queuing? They’re not telling me anything’.
Today’s chaos came around a fortnight after people missed flights or were forced to take off without their luggage at Heathrow when a check-in system went into meltdown.
The chaos, a day before schools break up and ahead of threatened strikes by pilots, caused queues of up to two hours and delayed British Airways flights from Terminal Five.
Hundreds of suitcases were seen being piled up behind screens after a fault with the bag-drop early in the morning.
With the system still not working well into the afternoon, some passengers faced an agonising wait to see if their baggage would turn up at their destination.
Have you been hit by the BA delays? Email [email protected] or call 02036151866
HOW PASSENGERS HIT BY BRITISH AIRWAYS’ IT GLITCH CAN CLAIM COMPENSATION
Thousands of British Airways passengers hit by the latest IT glitch are entitled to assistance and compensation, depending on the length of the flight and how long their journey was delayed.
Here are some of the key questions around the rules:
– What rules apply?
European Union law applies to flights either departing from an EU airport or those that are arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline, such as British Airways.
– How long must a flight be delayed before an airline has to provide support?
The length of delay that leads to airlines being required to offer assistance ranges from two hours for short-haul flights to four hours for long-haul flights.
– What care must be offered?
Airlines have to provide vouchers to buy a reasonable amount of food and drink, a means of communication (often by refunding the cost of telephone calls), and accommodation if a passenger is delayed overnight.
Sometimes airlines are unable to arrange care, particularly during major disruption. In this instance, passengers are advised to keep receipts and claim costs back later.
– What if a flight is cancelled?
Airlines have to offer full refunds or re-book passengers on to alternative flights.
– Can passengers claim compensation?
If a journey is delayed by more than three hours due to a factor within the airline’s control – such as technical faults or overbooking – there are fixed levels of compensation that can be claimed.
The amount ranges from 250 euros (£230) for short-haul flights delayed by at least three hours, to 600 euros (£553) for long-haul flights delayed by at least four hours.
– Does this mean travellers are guaranteed a payout every time there is disruption?
Any delays outside an airline’s control, such as bad weather or security alerts, are not liable for compensation.
– Is compensation automatic?
No, disrupted passengers must write a letter of complaint to the airline.
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