Many customers of British Airways had their plans thrown into chaos yesterday as an IT problem meant that, among other issues, the airline had to revert to manually checking passengers in, and led to cancellation of more than 100 flights, and the delay of a further 200. At least 117 were cancelled because of the issue at Heathrow airport, with a significantly smaller number being affected at Gatwick.
As often happens, frustrated passengers took to social media to vent their frustration. The BBC reported on the story of a wedding party of 25 that were stranded at Heathrow. What people often complain of in times like this is the lack of communication from the airline, and people echoed such concerns yesterday with one passenger referring to the saga as a “shambles” saying that passengers were just “expected to know what to do” while others said there were “no staff at the airport”. Some passengers, despite their frustration, did make sure to shout out to the “wonderful” staff.
The issue was later resolved, and the airline apologised to customers advising them to “check ba.com for the latest flight information before coming to the airport” as delays could continue through today as crews and aircraft end up out of place.
If you’re flying today, remember to check before you travel. If your flight was/is affected then you can check your rights on the CAA website.
A Summer to Forget for Travellers
This summer has seen, and by the looks of it will continue to see, a series of events that have impacted the travel plans of thousands of travellers:
- 26th July – A “technical problem” at the Swanwick Air Traffic Control centre in Hampshire led to passengers being stuck both in the air and on the ground leading to inevitable delays and cancellation, even though the issue lasted for less than three hours.
- 31st July – The court of appeal held up the right of BA pilots to strike after the airline attempted to injunct their efforts on what the pilots union, BALPA, called a technicality. The union an airline are continuing talks and no strike dates have been announced thus far. The union has to give the airline 14 days’ notice before a strike commences.
- 5th and 6th August – Airport staff at Heathrow suspended their industrial action in a dispute over pay after a new offer was proposed. However, the suspensions were only announced the day before the action was supposed to take place meaning that pre-emptive action had already been taken, including the cancelling of flights in advance.
- 6th August – A British Airways flight from Heathrow to Valencia was evacuated after smoke appeared in the cabin just before landing. No one was seriously injured.
- 22nd and 23rd August – Ryanair pilots voted to strike with the pilot’s union announcing two walkouts. The first is from the 22nd-23rd August, the second is from the 2nd-4th September. The strike comes in a row over pay and conditions.