British Airways Grounds Flights Following Global IT Problems [Updated]

By Rhett Jones on at

Update 5/28/17 13:30: The delays have now entered their second day, after British Airways initially cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday. As of lunchtime today, Sunday departures from Gatwick are delayed according to the BBC, though none have yet be cancelled. BA is urging passengers looking to travel today to check the status of flights before making the journey to the airport.

Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have now provided updated schedules on their websites.

The company claims that all customers who want a refund will receive one and it hopes to reassign passengers to new flights today. No timetable for when the IT problems will be resolved has been released. The airline’s chairman and CEO Alex Cruz tweeted a personal apology for the delays.

Original story: It’s a holiday weekend, but British Airways passengers aren’t getting the relaxing time off they’d hoped for. Following a “major IT system failure” that “is causing very severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide,” the airline says that flights will have to be grounded until the problems are resolved.

Despite some reports referencing a cyber attack, an airline spokesman tells the BBC that there is no evidence of that at this time. Passengers traveling from Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been asked not to arrive before 18:00. Anyone traveling after that time has been instructed to check their flight status before coming to the increasingly congested airports. Social media users were reporting that the airline’s website was down but it appears to be working now. Information on refunds can be found here. Some British Airways flights are reportedly still arriving and other airlines have not been affected by technical problems.

Twitter is filled with complaints from passengers who were stuck in the cabins of stalled airplanes. Journalist Martyn Kent tweeted that his flight waited on the tarmac for an hour and a half before the captain announced that a “catastrophic” IT failure had occurred.

This is the sixth major technical problem to hit British Airways this year. We’ll update this post if more information on the cause of the outage becomes available. Until then, it’s best to take rumors of a cyber attack with a grain of salt.

[Reuters, BBC]