Thousands of British Airways passengers have been left stranded after its flight planning system collapsed, grounding long-haul flights.
The IT meltdown meant that dozens of flights, mostly from the US to London, were unable to take off overnight. The flights were either cancelled or delayed, causing knock-on delays and cancellations in today’s schedule.
Eastbound flights from the US typically take off late at night, arriving in the UK at dawn.
In a statement BA said: “Our teams have now resolved a temporary issue that affected some of our long-haul flight planning systems overnight, which resulted in delays to our schedule. We’re sorry for the disruption caused to our customers’ travel plans.”
The issue did not affect short-haul flights or planes that were already in the air.
Elizabeth Hurley, the actress, was among thousands of passengers affected after her flight from Antigua, in the Caribbean, was severely delayed.
In a message to BA’s Twitter at 7.47am GMT, she wrote: “Stranded at Antigua airport with no food or water, taxis or hotels offered yet. Plane delayed 20 hours.”
BA passengers have also complained of huge delays in receiving their bags at Heathrow. Pictures emerged of piles of luggage after passengers were told to go home without their bags. Issues began on Sunday when strong winds prevented some bags from being unloaded.
A BA spokesman said the airline was “doing everything we can to reunite our customers with their delayed baggage as soon as possible”.
The airline said that the flights problem was related to a single piece of software and was not a repeat of the IT outages that repeatedly hit its operations in recent years.
It is said to be rebooking passengers on later flights or on to flights operated by other airlines.
In 2020, BA was fined £20 million by the Information Commissioner’s Office for a 2018 data breach which resulted in the personal details of 400,000 customers being accessed by hackers.