Many British Airways flights were cancelled on Wednesday with delays around the world affecting thousands after an IT glitch halted check-in and flight departures.
The glitch happened on a day British Airways Flight 94 from Heathrow Terminal was expected to arrive Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 15.55.
Almost 300 flights were cancelled or delayed at Heathrow and Gatwick airports alone as holidaymakers had their plans thrown into chaos.
From as early as 4.30 a.m, photos revealed frustrated passengers in huge queues stretching through terminals.
While it is unclear just how widespread the issue is, BA has insisted it is not a global outage and is a problem with two separate systems – one that deals with online check in, the other that deals with flight departures.
A total of 81 flights have been cancelled to or from Heathrow today while 10 Gatwick flights were cancelled. More than 200 other flights were delayed, with some more than five hours behind schedule – reportedly affecting up to 15,000 passengers.
It’s just another problem to hit the flag carrier airline of the UK – having this year faced a multi-million pound fine over a hack of their customer’s data, the threat of pilot strikes and baggage mayhem.
It’s the third major IT outage for BA in two years after 672 flights were cancelled with 75,000 people affected over a May Bank holiday in 2017 and another glitch in July last year.
And problems have struck again this morning – in the middle of the British school holidays.
The airline has already urged passengers flying out of Heathrow, Gatwick and London City to rebook their flights if affected – suggesting the problem may not have a quick fix.
BA could face a compensation bill in excess of £5million if all those affected claim what they are entitled to under EU rules.
Queues at Gatwick Airport were this morning nearly stretching outdoors on to the concourse at the South Terminal.
BA passengers, still hauling their luggage, were guided into separate queues as staff desperately tried to organise the masses.
Among them is mum Melanie Dixon, who was ready to fly to Las Vegas for a four-day holiday with her three children.
The hairdresser from Kent said: “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.
“BA have hundreds of flights every day. They should be coping with this much better.”
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.
Mum-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.”