Thousands of Passengers Delayed for Up to 24 Hours Due to British Airways Technical Glitch

A British Airways Flight
Photo: Gareth Fuller - PA Images/Getty Images

Thousands of British Airways passengers were stuck on the ground for up to 24 hours after a computer glitch caused massive problems around the airline’s network.

Problems began Wednesday evening when pilots discovered they were unable to file their flight plans, according to the Daily Mail. The outage led to delays which snowballed into cancellations, affecting flights to and from London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Pilots were forced to plot their courses on old-fashioned charts before the system restored.

“The woman I spoke to said the flight-plan generator had crashed,” one passenger told the Daily Mail. “It seemingly means pilots cannot get journey details and are left stranded. We should have taken off hours ago. It’s chaos.”

In the worst cases, two tropical flights — one from Cancun, Mexico and another from Kingston, Jamaica — landed in London almost 24 hours late. Another flight from Pittsburgh landed about 12 hours late. A handful of flights were canceled altogether.

The airline said in a statement that it was experiencing a “technical issue” and that it had rebooked customers on alternate flights or provided hotel accommodations for those who were forced to stay overnight.

The incident follows an issue from the summer where the British Airways' computer system also failed travelers.

Another IT glitch in August forced the airline to cancel more than 100 flights, affecting thousands of passengers. And earlier this year, British Airlines was forced to cancel flights for 200,000 passengers when pilots when on their first strike in the airline’s history.

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