Skip to Content

British Airways Passengers Are Grounded By Another System Failure

Travellers Depart From London Heathrow Airport As British Airways Cabin Crew Call Off Christmas StrikesTravellers Depart From London Heathrow Airport As British Airways Cabin Crew Call Off Christmas Strikes
A passenger sits at a departure gate against a backdrop of a British Airways aircraft landing, at terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport in London, U.K.Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just two months after more than 670 flights were canceled due to a power failure, British Airways hit another embarrassing glitch Wednesday morning when its systems crashed across London airports.

The system failure caused severe delays and long lines as staff were forced to manually check in customers, while other passengers were unable to check in online. As Brits set off on their August holidays, passengers called the situation “total chaos.”

Read: The Reign is Over: Richard Branson Surrenders Control of Virgin Atlantic

The IT failure in May affected about 75,000 passengers and it took three days for the airline to return to its normal schedule. Wednesday’s delays follow warnings earlier this week that passengers flying in and out of European airports may face long waits due to tightened border checks across the continent.

British Airways is not the only airlines to have been hit by computer problems. Last August, Delta canceled hundreds of flights due to an outage. Lufthansa, Air France, Southwest, and American Airlines have also had similar technical problems.

Read: This Is the Best Airline in the World

Experts have argued that airlines have not adequately invested in refreshing 1960s era reservations systems. Instead, they have poured money into developing other features such as automated check-in, mobile apps, and in-flight wifi. However, the financial cost of these failures are huge. Shares in British Airways’ parent company dropped significantly following the May outage and reportedly cost the airline $91.6 million. It remains to be seen what the lasting effect of today’s outage will have on the U.K.’s old flag carrier, but shares in its parent, International Airlines Group, were relatively unmoved, falling only 0.2% in London by early afternoon.