British Airways has apologized to customers after suffering “a technical glitch” with its flight planning systems which affected flights from the United States and elsewhere around the world before Christmas.
BA said it had resolved the issue, which first occurred overnight, which had blocked many long-haul services ahead of scheduled departures and left many passengers complaining via social media.
Among them may have been actress Liz Hurley who said via her Twitter account that she was stranded in Antigua for 20 hours “with no food or water or taxis or hotels offered.”
Sky News was seeking further information on the extent of continued disruption to the airline, which has a checkered recent history when it comes to IT reliability.
It is understood that dozens of flights were delayed and a small number of cancellations.
BA’s latest computer crash came to light when passengers who were due to leave the United States reported widespread delays and a lack of information from BA staff on the ground.
Some customers have reported being held up for hours.
“All the fun and games at JFK,” one tweeted. “All British Airways flights are grounded due to an error with their flight mapping system and we now have multiple alarms going off on departures.”
Another said: “The Captain of our British Airways flight just said their flight computers have been down for two hours worldwide and no BA aircraft can file a flight plan? Doesn’t that seem like ideal.”
Another passenger complained about the uncertainty of the situation: “Midnight and we cannot go to the hotel because BA will not officially cancel the flight. We don’t know when the flight will leave and there’s a plane full of people they flew out of Cayman *after* this crisis started who will be spending the night on the plane!”
BA said the technical issue did not affect any departing flights or short-haul services. He also said the outage was not a safety issue.
The airline revealed at 8:15 a.m. that services were back to normal.
“Our teams have now resolved a temporary issue that was affecting some of our long-haul flight planning systems overnight, which caused delays to our schedule.
“We are sorry for the disruption caused to our customers’ travel plans.”
BA is no stranger to problems with its IT systems following a number of high-profile outages in recent years that have damaged the carrier’s reputation and its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last one arrived in March and caused delays at Heathrow in London airport.
Just a month ago hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled due to a computer glitch, aggravated by staff shortages.