British Airways outage causes chaos for travelers

By TransportationFOXBusiness

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Numerous British Airways flights were delayed or canceled due to technical problems, the company said Wednesday.

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Thousands of passengers faced long waits amid the disruption caused by what the airline called a “systems issue.” It was the third large computer problem to affect British Airways in the past few years, and it came on the heels of a $228 million fine announced for a data breach.

The problems were related to separate systems that deal with online check-in and flight departures, the BBC reported. As of Wednesday morning, there was no indication of how soon the issues would be fixed.

“We are very sorry to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans,” the airline said in a statement. “We are working as quickly as possible to resolve a systems issue which has resulted in a number of cancellations and delays today.”

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Travelers took to Twitter for information and to vent, sharing pictures of long lines at airports.

In 2017, a power issue caused a computer failure that stranded thousands of passengers. Last year, technical problems forced the airline to cancel flights at Heathrow Airport.

One traveler asked on Twitter what the airline had learned from the previous system failure.

“Nothing it would seem,” he wrote.

British Airways is recommending that travelers check their flight status online and arrive at the airport early. For customers taking short-haul services out of the London airports -- Heathrow, Gatwick and London City -- the airline said it was offering to rebook for another day.

The system snafu came the same week the airline already made news for a flight that had to be evacuated after the cabin filled with smoke. Fortunately, the pilots were able to land the London-Valencia flight safely. There were no reports of injuries.

British Airways is also facing a potential pilot strike over a pay dispute that could cause more headaches for travelers. The union is planning a strike at Heathrow on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24, according to the airport.

The airline is also facing a nearly-$230 million fine over its data breach last year, which compromised the personal information of 500,000 customers. The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office announced the proposed fine last month over alleged infringements of the European General Data Protection Regulation which went into effect last year.

The airline has said it intends to appeal the fine.