Over several thousand British Airway (BA) passengers will be applying for flight delay compensation, thanks to a global IT failure that impacted the air carrier’s operations during the last weekend of May 2017. As UK banks began closing for the weekend, passengers flying by BA were left stranded at airports and runways across the UK due to a major glitch in the system.
BA was forced to cancel all flights from a majority of the airports in the country, such as Gatwick and Heathrow. A majority of the cancellations, which were done to curb congestion, covered flights that were scheduled to fly before 6 PM.
The airline company promised passengers that it would keep them updated via traditional and social media platforms. However, the IT glitch had affected systems across airports, contact centers and even websites. Technicians were called in to deal with the issue and according to their reports; the glitch was believed have been caused due to a cyberattack.
Passengers were infuriated and began ranting on Twitter about how they were forced to miss weddings or cancel weekend plans. They also complained that BA failed to provide them with updates. Some even uploaded images /videos of them being stranded with other passengers.
One BA passenger, a Jose Esteves,tweeted about BA’s website having no information about the outage while Eddy Levin, another passenger, called the event a “Catastrophic Failure”.
According to Sky News, one passenger at Heathrow was angered because her flight had been cancelled by BA without any prior intimation.
Fortunately, after a day’s work, technicians narrowed down the cause of the glitch to a power surge.
Outsourcing Not to be Blamed
Alex Cruz, BA’s Chief Executive, told the media that the glitch had nothing to do with outsourcing IT services to India or cost-cutting. He also ruled out possibilities of his resignation and blamed the issue on the back-up system’s failure to kick in during the outage.
Prior to his statement to the media, rumors began doing the rounds claiming that BA’s recent failure was due to a cost-cutting effort, in which, an Indian firm was made to take over the company’s IT functions.
Cruz also made it clear that no personal data belonging to any passenger was stolen and that there was no evidence to suggest a cyberattack, which was earlier, suspected to be the cause of the glitch.
Cruz added that BA was still conducting investigations and that the company would provide conclusive details once the investigative process was completed.
The Chief Executive apologised to BA passengers all over the globe who were still stranded due to the outage. However, he promised that at least 2/3rd of the passengers would be flown to their destination before the day ended.
As of now, the airline company has regained control over most of its operations.
The weekend outage had led to 13 short-haul cancellations at Heathrow alone. The overall cost to BA is estimated to be around 30 million pounds.