British Airways system failure strands and delays thousands of travelers

BA said it aimed to operate the majority of services from Heathrow and a near normal schedule from Gatwick, the capital's second busiest airport.

Affected customers can claim a full refund or rebook to a future date for travel up until the end of November 2017, it said.

In September a year ago BA apologised to passengers for check-in delays caused by operational glitches that delayed flights at Gatwick and Heathrow, in a repeat of a similar incident that affected London-area flights for the airline last July. It didn't say what was causing the problem but said there was no evidence of a cyberattack.

The airline has experienced problems with its online check-in systems in the past. "The terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick have become extremely congested ... so please do not come to the airports".

One of the frustrated passenger posted a picture on social media of BA staff writing gate numbers on a white board.

The outage couldn't have come at a worse time, as this was one of the busiest weekends of the year, coinciding with the half-term break for many United Kingdom schools.

The computer crash affected BA's booking system, baggage handling, mobile phone apps and check-in desks, leaving passengers facing long queues and confusion in airports or delays while planes were held on runways.

"Most long-haul flights due to land in London tomorrow (Sunday, May 28) are expected to arrive as normal, and we are working to restore our services from tomorrow, although some delays and disruption may continue into Sunday".

Meanwhile, BA chief executive Alex Cruz said the airline was "extremely sorry" for the "huge inconvenience" suffered by customers, especially those who were headed for holidays with families.

Other airlines flying in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick are unaffected.

Travelers are stuck at airports as British Airways computers' systems are down around the world.

"We apologize for the current IT systems outage. We are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible", British Airways tweeted.

The airline, which had previously said flights would be cancelled until 18:00 BST, has now cancelled all flights for Saturday and asked passengers not to come to Gatwick or Heathrow airports.

  • Zachary Reyes