Bug grounds all BA flights

In August a power surge near USA airline Delta's Atlanta headquarters caused computers to crash and led to widespread delays across Delta's entire network. Some BA flights were still arriving at Heathrow Saturday afternoon, while many were listed as "delayed".

Many of them expected to board an evening flight to Heathrow Airport, but found out their flights were cancelled.

BA said terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick had become extremely congested and cancelled all flights from those airports until 6 p.m. (1 p.m. EDT).

The airline's IT teams are working "tirelessly" to fix the problems, said Cruz.

British Airways had to cancel flights over a holiday weekend because of computer problems.

London's Heathrow Airport, one of the world's busiest, said it was working with British Airways.

Customers who saw their flights cancelled are being refunded or rebooked on to new services and other options are available for those who no longer want to fly.

Thousands of holidaymakers were stranded after BA flights from Heathrow and Gatwick were grounded on Saturday.

After finding out they would not be departing for Dusseldorf as planned, the group joined "another queue the length of the airport" to get a number to rebook.

"Today we have experienced a major IT system failure that is causing very severe disruptions to our flight operations worldwide", British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz said in a video message, as reports spread of errors on its website, ticket machines and behind-the-scenes technical infrastructure. The airline said delays could continue until Sunday, but that they hoped to resume majority during the day.

In addition to the aftermath of the BA meltdown, European air travellers have the added inconvenience of a strike by Italian air traffic controllers and some Alitalia staff on Sunday. "We are repositioning some aircraft during the night to enable us to operate as much of our schedule as possible throughout Sunday", the airline said on its website.

"We are extremely sorry for the huge disruption caused to customers throughout Saturday and understand how frustrating their experiences will have been".

Passengers were asked to contact the airline in order to locate their luggage, after many were forced to leave Heathrow without claiming their bags.

"I would estimate, given the timing of the bank holiday weekend, that this has affected a hundred flights and a thousand passengers already", said John Strickland, director of aviation at analysts JLS Consulting.

"We will be updating the situation via the media regularly throughout the day".

  • Zachary Reyes