British Airways customers are in mammoth queues again today with some delayed for up to 17 hours after a night sleeping on terminal floors, benches and in coffee shops.
The chaos began yesterday when a check-in system meltdown hit 70,000 BA passengers at all its UK airports with thousands also stranded across the globe.
And today lines of people are forming again at Heathrow and Gatwick as the beleaguered airline warned of a ‘knock-on’ disruption despite fixing their IT meltdown yesterday afternoon.
Julie Raybould, from Watford, was meant to fly back to London from Edinburgh yesterday evening but is not expected to take-off until 2pm today.
She told MailOnline: ‘People were sleeping in the Costa. We eventually managed to get a bed in a Wetherspoons in town and left the airport at 1.15am. BA were dreadful – they just left us to fend for ourselves’.
In a series of tweets she blasted BA and said: ‘Now delayed 17 hours. No help to get us a bed for the night – simply told to leave gate, collect bags and sort ourselves out’.
She added: ‘So disappointed with lack of care to this point. Treated no better than any low cost airline and we pay more to BA to avoid just that sort of treatment. Hard to justify why we do right now’.
Huge queues have formed at Heathrow again today as the chaos caused by the British Airways IT crash continues
A stranded passenger sleeps in a bench in departures at Heathrow T5 after a chaotic 24 hours
Some check-in machines at Heathrow were still not working today but the airline insists there is no system problem today
Julie Raybould, from Watford, was meant to fly back to London from Edinburgh yesterday evening but is not expected to take-off until 2pm today.
Pregnant passenger Kirsty Cooper said she had to sleep on the airport floor after her flight was axed
Long list of failures: BA’s painful history of IT glitches
British Airways rolled out a ‘cost effective’ IT system in October 2015.
But since its launch, the system has caused a host of problems costing the company more than £100 million.
Workers say it crashes ‘all the time’ and check-in staff are regularly reduced to tears by its glitches.
– The new BA ‘FLY’ system first broke down on June 19 2015, just weeks after first being introduced.
– The system then suffered another failure on July 7, 2016. Two-hour, seven-lane queues formed at all BA check-in gates at Terminal 5 at London Heathrow.
– Less than a week later and the check-in system broke down yet again. On July 13, lengthy queues formed once again at Terminal 5, Heathrow, after the ‘FLY’ system suffered further technical problems
– Five days later it broke down once again and on this occasion TV presenter Phillip Schofield was among those to berate the airline for the delays. The IT glitch also hit Gatwick and caused huge queues as hundreds of thousands of families start going away for their summer holidays. Long queues snaked across terminal buildings as irate passengers said BA workers were nowhere to be seen or ‘pretending to be on the phone’.
– In May 2017 an IT engineer allegedly failed to follow proper procedure at a Heathrow data centre and caused ‘catastrophic physical damage’ to servers leaving 75,000 stranded across the globe. The outage lasted just 15 minutes but it stopped online check-in, grounded planes and broke baggage systems and meant BA was unable to resume a full schedule for four days. More than 670 flights were cancelled, costing the company £80 million.
– There were seven BA system failures in total in 2017. Crashes on June 19, July 7, July 13, July 18 and again on August 2, meant huge delays and cancellations for its customers.
– In 2018 furious passengers blasted BA after airline cancels tickets to the Middle East they bought months ago saying fliers should have realised the £167-return deals were a glitch.
– In July 2019 British Airways was told it will have to pay a record £183million fine for a data breach that saw card details of more than 380,000 customers stolen from its website and app.
– Days later holidaymakers headed overseas for their summer break had to leave their bags behind at Heathrow Airport following problems with luggage handling systems. Passengers including former comedian Eddie Izzard tweeted their frustration and posted pictures of cases piling up in the luggage hall.
BA passengers are being offered new flights over the next six days amid crippling IT failures.
A spokesman said today: ‘We resolved the temporary systems issue yesterday and apologised to customers who were affected.
‘Any customers whose flights were cancelled have either been rebooked or offered a refund.
‘We plan to operate our normal schedule today, however there may be some knock-on disruption.
‘We continue to ask customers to check ba.com before heading to the airport to get the latest status of their flight’.
The chaos began yesterday when a check-in system meltdown hit up to 70,000 people.
More than 400 flights were cancelled or delayed before the issue was fixed, leaving BA facing a £16million compensation bill and knock-on disruption that could continue today. Ryanair pilots – who are already paid up to £180,000 a year – added to the agony last night by announcing plans to strike later this month in a dispute over pay and benefits.
The walkout – orchestrated by pilots’ union Balpa – is scheduled to go ahead on August 22 and August 23, the height of the summer holidays. It is set to overlap with a separate strike by around 4,000 Heathrow workers, including security staff and engineers, which is due to go ahead on August 23 and 24.
At the same time, passengers are still facing the threat of a strike by British Airways pilots. Their union is still locked in talks with the carrier over a pay dispute that could yet trigger a walkout later this month.
The unrest threatens further misery for holidaymakers at one of the busiest times of the year, when tens of thousands of families are heading abroad. Last night, Tory MP Steve Double, a member of the commons Transport committee, criticised unions for worsening the disruption. ‘Unions should not be holding holidaymakers to ransom to extract better pay deals for their members,’ he said.
The torment began at 6am for thousands of families at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City yesterday when British Airways’ online check-in system crashed. As staff were forced to process baggage manually, huge queues built up. Passengers were also unable to check in online.
By the time BA announced the problem had been sorted around ten hours later, around 127 flights had been cancelled and 300 were delayed, affecting 70,000 holidaymakers. The IT glitch caused knock-on disruption at airports around the UK, as well as far afield as Japan, India and the US. BA now faces a potential £16million compensation bill, with short-haul passengers eligible for a payout of up to £230 under EU rules.
The sheer volume of BA customers returning for flights today has caused longer than usual queues
Some passengers described scenes of ‘bedlam’ at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. There were also complaints of a ‘pathetic’ lack of information, and a shortage of BA staff on hand to help.
£180k-a-year Ryanair pilots want rise
Ryanair pilots on salaries of up to £180,000 a year are preparing to inflict more misery on holidaymakers by going on strike over pay.
Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) voted by 4-1 to back a campaign of action on a turnout of 72 per cent of members.
Strikes are scheduled for August 22 and 23, as well as from September 2 to September 4.
The action is likely to ground hundreds of flights, throwing the holiday plans of hundreds of thousands into doubt.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said it did not want to ‘spoil travel plans’ but had ‘no choice’. The union said the row centres around issues including the airline’s failure to provide a ‘fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure’.
But Ryanair questioned the legitimacy of the strike, saying Balpa represents less than half of its 1,250 UK pilots .
It said: ‘Any threat of industrial action should be taken off the table and Balpa should work with us to preserve UK pilot jobs, not destroy them.’
To make matters worse, Gatwick passengers were also hit by cancellations or delays on the Gatwick Express rail service from London Victoria. Naomi Leach of Which? Travel, said: ‘This apparent BA systems failure is another kick in the teeth for travellers who are likely to have spent weeks worrying about whether their holiday flights will take off.’ Passengers were offered the chance to re-book their flights or apply for a refund.
But some families desperate to get away for their summer break paid hundreds of pounds on flights with other airlines, meaning they could be left heavily out of pocket.
BA has been plagued by previous IT issues. In 2017 a power outage at Heathrow stranded tens of thousands of passengers over the May bank holiday weekend. The airline is also facing a record £183million fine after hackers stole the personal details of up to half a million passengers last year.
Chief executive Alex Cruz did not make a public apology yesterday, but was understood to be working all day at Heathrow to help deal with the problem. A BA spokesman said: We apologise to all our customers caught up in the disruption, and appreciate how frustrating their experience has been. Meanwhile, the announcement of strike action by Ryanair pilots only added to the frustration. Along with this month’s planned walkouts, more are planned for September 2 and 4.
Balpa will not say how many pilots are involved, but the union is understood to represent around half of the airline’s flyers.
The threat of a separate pilots’ strike at BA will hang over hundreds of thousands of Britons who have booked flights with the airline this summer. The protest involving around 4,000 workers at Heathrow, including security staff and engineers, will still go ahead if they reject an improved pay offer. A walkout scheduled for Monday and Tuesday was suspended.
One of the world’s biggest airlines, BA made record profits of almost £2billion last year, flying more than 145,000 passengers a day. The carrier, in its centenary year, employs around 4,500 pilots – with captains paid an average of £167,000.
More than 400 flights were cancelled or delayed before the issue was fixed, leaving BA facing a £16million compensation bill (pictured, passengers waiting inside Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport during the IT meltdown)
A check-in system meltdown hit tens of thousands of British Airways passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick on Wednesday (pictured, passengers queuing at Gatwick Airport on Wednesday)
An upset, and delayed, mother with young children demands answers from a member of British Airways staff at Heathrow Terminal 5 on Wednesday
A large sign announced the closure of check-in at Heathrow Terminal 5 following the British Airways IT meltdown
Airline passengers face August Bank Holiday hell with both Ryanair pilots and Heathrow workers set to go on strike in the run-up to the long weekend and BA pilots also still due to walk out for bank holiday
Holidaymakers are set to face travel chaos at airports during the summer break this year, with both Ryanair pilots and Heathrow workers set to go on strike.
Many flights in the lead-up to the August Bank Holiday are likely to be cancelled, with industrial action scheduled from August 22 to 24.
The period is expected to be among the busiest of the year for airports in the UK, with the last Bank Holiday weekend of 2019 kicking off on August 24.
It comes as Ryanair’s £135,000-a-year-pilots voted for a series of strikes lasting from August 22 to 23 in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Meanwhile Heathrow workers are scheduled to walk out on August 23 and 24 in a similar salary dispute.
Queues at Heathrow Terminal 5 this morning after a computer glitch saw many flights cancelled on Wednesday. The airport is bound to see similar chaos later this summer
Airline passengers experienced a taste of the disruption to come yesterday after an IT glitch saw more than 400 British Airways flights cancelled or delayed.
At the same time, passengers are still facing the threat of a strike by British Airways pilots.
Their union is still locked in talks with the carrier over a pay dispute that could yet trigger a walkout later this month.
The summer holiday woes are set to continue past the Bank Holiday too, with Ryanair’s pilots also set for industrial action from September 2 to 4.
The action is a setback for Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, which recently said it had resolved a dispute with pilots and crew that led to a series of strikes last year.
Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) voted by 4 to 1 to back a campaign of action on a 72 per cent turnout.
Ryanair pilots are not paid as much as their counterparts at BA, but the operator has previously said those operating from London Stansted earn around £135,000 a year.
Chief among concerns for pilots are pensions, maternity benefits and the need for a ‘fair transparent and consistent pay structure.’
Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair compliment of pilots are set to participate in strikes lasting from August 22 to 23 in a dispute over pay and conditions
Airline passengers experienced a taste of the disruption to come yesterday after an IT glitch saw more than 400 British Airways flights cancelled or delayed
The continuing dispute comes at a challenging time for the low-cost airline, which announced a series of job cuts last week
Balpa previously said it had made detailed demands to Ryanair for improvements to pay and working conditions but that the airline had refused to table a counter-offer.
The continuing dispute comes at a challenging time for the low-cost airline, which announced a series of job cuts last week.
Chief Executive Michael O’Leary made the comments in an internal video to staff following the release of financial results for the three months to June 30.
Mr O’Leary told its staff it has 500 more pilots and 400 more cabin crew than required and job losses will be announced in the coming weeks.
Ryanair reported a 21 per cent fall in profits to £219million in the first quarter of this financial year.
The low-cost airline cited lower fares and higher costs for fuel and staff as reasons for the decline during the three months to the end of June.
Fury of helpless families caught up in the chaos
By Christian Gysin and Susie Coen for the Daily Mail
Bank manager Simon Chapman, 43, was due to travel from Heathrow to Barcelona with his children Violette, 14, and 11-year-old Jack.
He paid £350 for their tickets on the 9.25am flight – only to realise it had been cancelled after they went through security.
Mr Chapman was told he could fly from Gatwick. So he had to fork out £160 on a taxi, spending a total of £900 on flights and travel.
Staggeringly, he was then told by staff at Gatwick they were not listed on the 2.40pm flight – after queuing for an hour and a half.
Bank manager Simon Chapman, 43, was due to travel from Heathrow to Barcelona with his children Violette, 14, and 11-year-old Jack (pictured together on Wednesday) – but was only told their flight had been cancelled after he’d gone through security
Teacher Susan Howitt, 38, was hoping to travel to Bologna with her husband Peter, also 38, a civil servant, but received a text as they arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 with their children Joseph, ten, Luke, eight, and Timothy, six, to tell them their 2.40pm flight had been cancelled (pictured left to right: Joseph, Timothy, Peter, Susan, and Luke)
Mr Chapman, from Reading, said: ‘It’s unbelievable really. I booked this back in April.
‘We’d got through security and it was only by chance I looked at the information board and it said our flight was cancelled.
‘There were no more flights to Barcelona from Heathrow, so Gatwick was the closest place to book from. I was told by BA staff at Heathrow to re-book and they would reimburse me, so I did.
‘Then when we got here, and after queuing for ages, they told me we’re not even on the flight.
‘They said BA hadn’t paid the partner airline, but I’ve paid BA. So BA have my money and I don’t have any flights. It’s so frustrating.
‘I’ve forked out £900 more than I needed to spend and I’m not even seeing anything for it.’
Teacher Susan Howitt, 38, was hoping to travel to Bologna with her husband Peter, also 38, a civil servant, but received a text as they arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 with their children Joseph, ten, Luke, eight, and Timothy, six, to tell them their 2.40pm flight had been cancelled.
‘It means we will now be on a flight at 8am tomorrow and will have to stay at a hotel near the airport,’ she said. Her husband arranged an overnight stay at a nearby Hilton, with the cost of two rooms being £340. She added: ‘BA have promised they will reimburse us for the cost of the rooms.’
Martin Conway (centre), 55, was hoping to travel to Split and then on to Dubrovnik in Croatia, with 15-year-old Jamie, 11-year-old Zofia and Oliver, 14 (pictured left to right with their father). But their flight was cancelled when they arrived from their Oxford home by bus in the morning
Her husband said: ‘There have been plenty of airport staff wearing purple ‘Here to Help’ polo shirts but a real lack of BA staff offering any assistance.’ The family from St Albans, Hertfordshire, will lose a night of their five-night AirBnB lodgings in Bologna before going to a Rimini hotel for a further week.
‘It would have helped us if BA had contacted us before we set off so we could have stayed at home for 24 hours before starting our holiday.’
Martin Conway, 55, was hoping to travel to Split and then on to Dubrovnik in Croatia, with 11-year-old Zofia, Oliver, 14 and Jamie, 15.
The family were due to be travelling on the BA842 at 1.35pm but the flight was cancelled when they arrived from their Oxford home by bus in the morning.
‘We had to take the bus because we are travelling with bikes as the children like to be active on holiday,’ explained Mr Conway. ‘In the end, we decided to take up the offer of a flight tomorrow with BA, but from Gatwick.
‘We will now have to get around the M25 and find somewhere to sleep near Gatwick.
‘My wife is due to join us on a separate flight tomorrow. I imagine the whole mess is going to cost us a further £700 on top of the cost of the holiday.’