BA under pressure to improve IT systems and communication after cancellations

British Airways is under pressure to improve its IT systems and communication with passengers after canceling flights due to technical issues.

The airline has canceled all short-haul flights out of Heathrow until midday on Saturday, with the airport’s online departures board showing further BA cancellations throughout the day.

BA said the issue, which is also expected to cause potential delays for its customers using Gatwick and London City Airport, is related to a hardware issue and not a cyberattack.

The major outage caused flight cancellations and delays, luggage backlogs and passengers stuck in planes after landing at Heathrow.

BA’s website and app were down for hours on Friday evening, preventing customers from checking in online or booking flights, while on Saturday passengers criticized “absolute chaos” at Heathrow.

Dr Penny Slaney, 62, a consultant radiologist from Worcestershire, told the PA news agency that BA’s lack of communication was “appalling”, as people complained on social media about a lack of information.

We know we have let our customers down and we will do everything in our power to make it up, but for now our goal is to attract as many customers and flights as possible.


Simon Calder, travel correspondent at The Independent, is in Qatar due to return home overnight with BA.

He said: “British Airways, like all other British airlines, invests heavily in safety and has an outstanding safety record.

“But with another flying weekend badly damaged by what BA calls a ‘systems disruption’, the airline clearly has an urgent need to invest in IT.

“At a time when British Airways is still losing money at a prodigious rate, it can ill afford to shell out tens of millions of pounds in compensation for its technical shortcomings. But that is exactly what the airline is up to. confronted.

A check-in information board at Heathrow T5 Airport (Jonathan Brady/PA)

(PA wire)

“Longer term, reputational damage increases with each cancellation. I calculate that 1,500 passengers got up very early this morning to fly on British Airways from Heathrow to Geneva – and the same number are waiting at the Swiss airport to fly home.

“As with the thousands who lost trips to Italy, the Canary Islands and beyond, they are unlikely to forget this weekend in a hurry.”

Paul Charles, managing director of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said ongoing technical issues “don’t give consumers much confidence”, adding: “BA needs to be transparent about what is causing these issues and in what delay they will be resolved.”

In the meantime, which one? Consumer law expert Lisa Webb said BA should offer customers the option of an alternative route, with another airline if necessary, if their flight has been cancelled.

She said: “This is not the first time that BA has encountered technical problems, causing flights to be postponed and leaving passengers to pay the price.

“In events like these, airlines should offer the option of a refund or re-routing passengers on any reasonable route as quickly as possible, using other airlines if necessary.”

A staff member manually checks passenger boarding passes at the entrance to Terminal 5 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

(PA wire)

Ms Webb said BA must also give affected customers clear information about their right to compensation.

It is BA’s second outage in 10 days and the latest of several high-profile computer incidents to hit the airline.

Last summer, BA settled a lawsuit over a major data breach that affected 420,000 customers and employees.

The 2018 breach included the leaking of names, addresses and card payment details and led to the Information Commissioner’s Office issuing a £20million fine.

On July 18, 2018, computer problems plagued BA’s operations at Heathrow and the airline canceled a number of short-haul flights after the incident involving a “supplier’s computer system”.

In May 2017, 75,000 holiday travelers were stranded after a glitch forced the airline to cancel nearly 726 flights over three days.

The outage was suspected to have been caused by human error after an engineer disconnected and then reconnected a power supply to the data center in an “uncontrolled and uncommanded fashion”.

The collapse has been blamed by some on aggressive cost-cutting and outsourcing of jobs.

BA said customers due to travel on Saturday should check before heading to the airport, adding: “We are extremely sorry that due to the ongoing technical issues we are experiencing, we have unfortunately had to cancel a significant number of short-haul flights from Heathrow today.

The airline said its long-haul services to Heathrow and all flights to Gatwick and London City Airport should operate as planned, but customers “may experience delays”.

BA said it was offering customers on canceled services the option of a refund or rebooking on another service, adding: ‘We know we have let our customers down and we will do everything we can to make them right. pleasure – but for now our goal is to attract as many customers and flights as possible. »

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