The wide-scale travel disruption that British Airways blamed on a global I.T. failure continued for a second day on Sunday.
Thousands of passengers faced long lines and some were still stranded as hundreds of flights were considerably delayed out of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, even as the airline said that some of its systems had been restored.
The problems began around 7 a.m. on Saturday, at the start of a bank holiday weekend. The airline blamed “a major I.T. system failure that is causing severe disruption to our flight operations worldwide.”
The glitch affected the airline’s check-in and operational systems, including call centers, the airline’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, said in a video on Saturday.
By Sunday morning, “many” of its I.T. systems had returned, Mr. Cruz said in a new video. At Gatwick, they were back to running a “near full” operation, though some flights continued to be delayed. At Heathrow, the airline planned to fly all long-haul services, he said, but the “knock-on effects” of Saturday’s disruption would lead to delays and some cancellations.
Alex Cruz’s updated message to customers – 28th May 2017
Video by British Airways
“Everyone is upset,” Melanie Ware, who had flown from Los Angeles and was trying to reach Venice for her honeymoon, told Sky News, according to The Associated Press. “There’s people in tears.”
She added, “British Airways has ruined our honeymoon.”
Mr. Cruz apologized to the airline’s customers in the video on Sunday:
“I know this has been a horrible time for customers. Some of you have missed holidays. Some of you have been stranded on aircraft, and some you have been separated from your bags. Many of you have been stuck in long queues while waiting for information. On behalf of everyone at British Airways, I want to apologize for the fact that you’ve had to go through these very trying experiences.”
He advised passengers to check their flight status at ba.com/flightstatus before traveling to the airport. He urged people not to turn up too early because terminals were still “very congested.” At Terminal 5 at Heathrow, he said, passengers were not being let in until 90 minutes before their flight departure.
Some passengers had spent the night at the airport, but faced long lines to check in or rebook.
For those who left Heathrow on Saturday without picking up their bags, Mr. Cruz sought to assure them: “We have your bags, and we will look after them.” He said the airline would send the bags along by courier if necessary.
He said passengers could rebook flights on alternative dates until the end of November or receive refunds.
British Airways is working to get operations back to normal, he added. “We’re not there yet,” he said, “but we are doing our very best to sort things out for you.”
The G.M.B. trade union suggested that the failure could have been avoided had the airline not outsourced its I.T. work. But the airline said in a statement, “We would never compromise the integrity and security of our I.T. systems.”
The airline faced a similar problem in September, when a glitch affected check-in systems and caused delays at multiple international airports.