…By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
British Airways has issued an apology following an IT problem that resulted in the cancellation of domestic and European flights on Thursday, just before the Bank Holiday weekend in the UK.
Flight Cancellations and Delays:
More than 50 British Airways flights departing from Heathrow were canceled on Thursday, prompting the airline to advise passengers to check their flight status before heading to the airport on Friday.
Additionally, over 20 flights scheduled to land at Heathrow were either canceled or currently facing delays.
Impact on Friday Evening Flights:
Several flights scheduled for departure on Friday evening have been notified of delays, further adding to the stress experienced by customers affected by the disruptions.
Previous IT Issues:
This incident is not the first time British Airways has faced flight cancellations due to IT problems.
Similar issues occurred prior to Christmas and in 2017 when hundreds of flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports had to be canceled due to IT failures.
British Airways’ Response:
In a statement released just before 10 pm on Thursday, British Airways acknowledged the technical issue and assured that efforts were being made to resolve it.
The airline also requested that passengers contact them only if they were scheduled to travel within the next 48 hours due to high call volumes.
A tweet posted at 11:27 pm stated that the systems were back up and running, although intermittent issues might persist.
Heathrow Airport’s Statement:
Heathrow Airport clarified that the flight cancellations were not a result of airport strikes but rather due to a technical issue with British Airways’ systems.
Additional airport staff were deployed to assist passengers with any necessary support at the terminals.
Compensation and Assistance for Passengers:
Affected customers have the option to receive refunds, re-book their flights, or, if required to stay overnight, they will be provided with meals and hotel accommodations.
Customer Feedback and Criticism:
A Twitter user, present at the airport around 7 pm, expressed frustration with the situation, noting that most British Airways flights from Terminal 5 were canceled with limited staff available to handle the chaos.
The user called on British Airways to improve their service as the national flag carrier.
Continuation of Disruptions:
Delays and cancellations are expected to persist on Friday, indicating ongoing challenges for British Airways and passengers affected by the IT issue.
Coinciding Heathrow Airport Strike:
The flight disruptions occurred concurrently with a three-day strike by security guards at Heathrow Airport, who are engaged in a pay dispute.
This strike action follows 15 days of industrial action already taken by members of Unite, including during the busy Easter period.