British Airways passengers are suffering delays and cancellations at airports including London Gatwick after an IT failure caused havoc with the airline’s online check-in system.
The flyer has been forced to revert to manual check-in systems at airports, leaving customers stuck in queues as they wait longer to board flights.
“We are experiencing some systems problems this morning which are affecting check-in and flight departures,” a British Airways spokesperson said.
“Please check ba.com and manage my booking for the latest flight information and allow extra time at the airport.”
The problem was not a global failure but a combination of two glitches – one affecting online check ins and another concerning flight departures.
It led Gatwick airport passengers to complain of delays, with one Twitter user, Paul Jones, saying his flight’s pilot “can’t get data”.
“Told at gate at 06:40 that there was a worldwide @British_Airways system outage, and that there would be an update in 30 mins,” he added.
Kieran Healey-Ryder added: “Oh dear @britishairways global IT outage? No news from BA HQ. All flights grounded? Staff on board at Glasgow flight to London are brilliant.”
British Airways confirmed it has cancelled some short-haul flights and delays from London airports.
The airline added: “We are offering customers booked on short-haul services departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City today, the opportunity to rebook to another day.”
A BA spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans.
“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.”
The airline said that while a number of flights were still operating, customers should check its website for the latest flight information and to leave additional time for check in.
It said it was offering customers booked on short-haul flights departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City the opportunity to book their flights for another day.
Paloma Salmeron, air passenger rights expert at Air Help, set out passengers’ rights in the case of cancelled or delayed flights.
“If a flight is delayed by more than three hours, cancelled, or in an instance of denied boarding passengers are entitled to financial compensation of up to €600 (£530) if the cause of the disruption was in the airline’s control,” she said.
“Airlines must adhere to strict safety procedures which means ‘technical issues’ should be identified and prevented during routine checks and maintenance, so passengers severely affected by this I.T glitch are clearly entitled to compensation.”
She urged passengers to gather proof of the delay such as photos of the departure board or emails and texts from British Airways about the disruption.
Gatwick urged travellers to check with British Airways about the status of flights before making their way to the airport.
“British Airways is experiencing some systems problems this morning which are affecting check-in and flights departures,” Gatwick said on Twitter.
“If flying with BA, please check your flight before travelling to the airport and leave a little extra time.
“We have contingencies in place to ensure our passengers can continue their journey as normal,” it told one passenger. “We expect to operate a normal schedule on the weekend.”
Meanwhile Heathrow told a passenger: “British Airways check in is currently experiencing technical difficulties with the check-in and departures. We understand that this is very upsetting and we are very sorry for this disruption.”
London City Airport said there had been no cancelled flights as of 11.30am but urged passengers to check their flight status with BA.
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