British Airways cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick on Saturday due to a major IT failure causing severe disruption to its global operations. The chaos continues today.
The airline said its terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick became “extremely congested” due to the computer problems. It decided to cancel all flights from both airports before 6pm UK time on Saturday, then extended this to include all the day’s remaining flights from the UK’s largest two airports.
A BA spokeswoman said: “We are working hard to get our customers who were due to fly today on to the next available flights over the course of the rest of the weekend. Those unable to fly will be offered a full refund.”
There were chaotic scenes at the London terminals on Saturday as people tried to make their way overseas for the long weekend and half-term school holiday.
More than 200,000 passengers were affected. At Heathrow alone, BA had 406 flights scheduled to depart after 9am and a further 71 at Gatwick, according to flightstats.com on Saturday.
Ms Miller, an aviation lawyer at Fly&I, believes that passengers will be affected for a couple of weeks due to a “knock-on effect”, because planes and BA crew are scattered all over the world. “We have had hundreds of phone calls from passengers asking for advice as BA’s customer service was not answering phone calls and people didn’t know whether their flight would take off, whether there was a point in travelling to the airport. Sadly, this terrible experience happened at the beginning of half term in the UK. We would encourage passenger to register their claim online in order to receive compensation, reimbursement of expenses and refund of the tickets.”
To receive compensation, register your claim here.
Cancelled flight? Know your rights
Passengers are protected under EU law and are entitled to claim compensation for delayed or cancelled flights for services that departed or arrived from the EU. Therefore British Airways will be responsible for massive payouts.
Flight cancellation or delays of more than three hours attract the following compensations:
- €250 (£218) – for short-haul flights (up to 1,500km);
- €400 (£349)- for medium-haul trips (1,500km to 3,500km);
- €600 (£523) – for long distance flights
Airlines are also required to give passengers food and drinks for delays of more than two hours, as well as hotel accommodation for overnight delays and transfers.