British Airways travellers are facing cancellations and delays to their flights due to an IT glitch which has crashed online check-ins in the middle of the summer holidays.
The airline has cancelled 81 flights to or from Heathrow as well as 10 at Gatwick, affecting around 15,000 passengers.
More than 200 other flights have been delayed, with some more than five hours behind schedule.
The company apologised to customers for the disruption as images posted on social media by those waiting to fly out showed long queues at airports and error messages on the airline app.
BA ticketholders travelling to the UK from elsewhere – including from the United States, Japan and Vietnam – also vented their frustration online, suggesting a knock-on effect with planes and crews out of position.
A BA spokesman said: “We are very sorry to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans.
“We are working as quickly as possible to resolve a systems issue which has resulted in some short-haul cancellations and delays from London airports.”
The airline said it was offering customers booked on short-haul flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City on Wednesday the opportunity to rebook for another day.
“A number of flights continue to operate but we are advising customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information before coming to the airport,” the spokesman added.
“We are encouraging customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information, and to allow additional time at the airport.”
BA said it was not a global outage, and that it was relying on back-up and manual systems to cope with the computer problems.
The airline, which is owned by International Airlines Group, could face a compensation bill in excess of £5m if all those affected claim what they are entitled to under European Union rules.
Holidaymakers arriving at Terminal 5 at Heathrow have been greeted by digital message boards which told them “short-haul check-in is closed” and urging them to make their way back home.
Ysanne Bonner tweeted that she had “spent weeks preparing an anxious teen for our holiday to Naples”, only to learn two hours before leaving that their flight had been cancelled.
“No idea if we will get our long planned & saved for and much needed week away. Devastated but trying to remain hopeful,” she wrote.
Others like Joanna Lewis said they had spent hundreds of pounds on new flights with another airline. “Nice end to the holiday,” she tweeted.
Some already abroad and facing delays or cancellations to their flights home saw the positive in being forced to extend their summer escapades.
“At least if the flight’s cancelled, then we’ll be stuck in sunny Spain,” tweeted Becky Crane.
Many passengers complained of little or no information on the status of their flights, while others who had better experiences commended staff for “managing the chaos”.
Darren Rowe, from the Cotswolds, said his 10.20am flight to Hamburg from Heathrow for business meetings was cancelled before “all chaos let loose”.
He said: “There were massive queues, it was queue here, queue there, nobody was saying anything. The lack of information was just pathetic.
“You’ve got young families in that queue, people going to weddings, birthdays, on business. They could have had somebody come around with water updating people about what was going on.”
Courtesy of Sky News
Heavy snow has caused major disruption in the Czech Republic, leaving approximately 30,000 homes without power.
Up to 20cm of fresh snow was reported in some locations, forcing highways to close and disrupting flights into and out of Vaclav Havel, Prague’s international airport. A number of flights had to be diverted to other airports.
Strong winds accompanied the snow, with a gust of 145 kilometres per hour reported in Pribyslav, about 120km southeast of the capital, Prague.
The storm pulled down numerous trees, which resulted in the closure of roads and train lines.
The city of Kladno, just to the west of Prague, declared a state of emergency, according to Czech television.
The snowstorm also affected neighbouring Germany, where organisers were forced to cancel the last World Cup skiing race before the world championships.
A men’s giant slalom at Garmisch-Partenkirchen was called off amid relentless snow, a day after a downhill race had to be cancelled for the same reason.
Skiing’s governing body was looking to reschedule the events after the February 5-17 world championships, which begin on Tuesday in Are, Sweden.
The storm has now cleared away from the region and temperatures are expected to slowly rise during the coming week.
Courtesy of aljazeera.com
- Official Met Office figures for snowfall on Tuesday showed the worst-hit areas were Tulloch Bridge, Inverness-shire, with 11cm, and Spadeadam, Cumbria, with 10cm.
- The airports urged people to check the status of their flight before travelling after the Met Office said Britain was facing “very significant” snowfall this week.
- Manchester and Liverpool airports have temporarily halted flights due to the severe weather, with images posted to social media showing both runways blanketed in snow.
- Schools in Manchester and Liverpool have reported closures today as the freezing temperatures set in.
- Parts of Wales have been affected by the wintry conditions, especially as more than 100 schools have been forced to close.
- The Met Office has issued an updated yellow weather warning for snow and ice on Thursday and Friday.
- The forecaster is now warning of more snow and ice between 1pm on Thursday and 9pm on Friday across much of England and Wales.
- Around 2,400 soldiers are said to be poised to assist following warnings “dangerous weather” will cut power supplies and leave people in rural communities snowed in.