A glitch in the check-in systems used by British Airways led to a computer outage that caused a number of flight delays. Passengers affected by the delay were furious as they had to wait for hours at the airport. However, British Airways responded by stating that the issue had been blown out of proportion and that passengers were exaggerating. According to a spokesperson from the airline company, the outage did cause delays, but, the situation did not come to a standstill. Passengers were still being checked in at Gatwick and Heathrow, however, at a relatively slower pace.
When questioned about the source of the glitch, the spokesperson responded by saying that it was patchy. The airline also issued a public apology to its passengers on Twitter, stating that they were sorry about the delay and that they appreciated the patience displayed by passengers, while IT teams were trying to fix the problem. With arrivals turning up late, several flight delay had queued up subsequently. An afternoon flight to Vancouver, Canada was delayed by 3 hours. Long haul flights to locations such as Bangalore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Las Vegas were also delayed significantly.
Twelve short haul flights from and to Heathrow were also cancelled, but, it is believed that the cancellations had nothing to do with the computer outage, according to British Airways. Even so, passengers were asked to arrive at the airport as usual, unless warnings about significant delays were provided.
Ewan Crawford, a passenger from Glasgow who was waiting to catch his flight to Heathrow at Chicago O’Hare tweeted that water was being delivered to the gate, which is never a good sign. He also mentioned about the computer outage. Another passenger, a Matthew Walker, who was flying to London from the US, mentioned that he had to wait for over 2 hours to get onto his flight to Seattle. The 29 year old Australian, who lives in London and works as a Financial Analyst, added that he checked in online. However, the outage prevented the ground staff from carrying out a proper verification. It is believed that many people were stuck in the same situation as Mr. Walker’s.
At Heathrow Terminal, passengers complained of 45 minute waiting periods. Passengers Paul and Elaine Barnett, who were on their way to Sardinia, stated that the check-in process took longer than usual and that they were asked for additional details after reaching the desk. Problems that occurred earlier had been sorted out by morning, allowing queues to move a bit faster. Patrick Darby of Dulwich, who was on his way to Russia, mentioned that there was an initial hold-up, which eventually got sorted.
British Airways experienced a similar situation in July, this year, after installing the new check-in systems. Installations for the new check-in systems began in October 2015 across various airports around the globe. The installations were completed only this year. The airline advised passengers to carry out online check-ins before heading for the airport.