BA IT systems failure results in cancelled flights and delays at London airports

British Airways is experiencing unspecified technical difficulties at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City airports, prompting it to cancel flights

An unspecified systems issue affecting British Airways’ (BA) check-in procedures has forced the airline to cancel and delay flights departing from its London airports.

A brief post on the company website confirmed that the airline is experiencing technical difficulties that are affecting its ability to check passengers onto flights, and are having a knock-on effect on flight departures from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City airports.  

BA did not answer Computer Weekly’s questions about the precise nature of the systems problems it is experiencing, neither did it say when the issues are known to have started.

A spokesperson for the airline provided a brief statement, in which it apologised for the disruption caused by the incident, before assuring passengers that it is working to find a fix. 

“We are working as quickly as possible to resolve a systems issue which has resulted in some short-haul cancellations and delays from London airports,” the statement said.

“A number of flights continue to operate, but we are advising customers to check for the latest flight information before coming to the airport, and to le​ave additional time. 

“We are offering customers booked on short-haul services departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City today, the opportunity to rebook to another day.”

A number of passengers caught up in the disruption have expressed their dismay on social media about the airline’s handling of the situation, while revealing details of how far-reaching the problems are. Many reported issues using BA’s online booking systems, as well as its mobile app check-in service.

The disruption is the latest in a series of IT system failures that have blighted BA in recent years, the most high-profile being the May bank holiday datacentre power outage in 2017 that grounded flights for two days at Gatwick and Heathrow, throwing the travel plans of about 75,000 passengers into chaos.

The incident is known to have cost the airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), £58m in lost business and follow-up compensation claims.

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About 20 years ago, I was in a meeting at British Airways, and whilst waiting for others to arrive, I noticed a stack of brightly coloured flowcharts on a table.
Nosily, I took one to study, and realised it was the equivalent of one I had authored in the 1980's for American Express Card division.
A few days later, I confessed to my "host", and said I'd noticed a mistake on the flowchart. Laughing, she told me there were 3 deliberate mistakes.
It was a test sheet for people being interviewed for promotion as Enterprise Architects. Before they were even interviewed, they had to study the Enterprise flowchart (the interaction of Planes, Crew, Passengers, Reservations, Tickets, Boarding Passes, Luggage, Food, Fuel, Weather, Airport slots etc etc). If they didn't spot the 3 errors, the Interview was terminated before it started.
I wonder if people in those positions today have even that knowledge?