BA said sorry to customers and said its technical team was working to resolve the problem as soon as possible. It urged customers to allow extra time at airports.
BA would not confirm how many people have been affected by the IT problems, but some customers reported being unable to check-in while others posted pictures of themselves stuck on planes unable to take off for hours at airports including London Gatwick and Newcastle in northern England.
British Airways said some systems were experiencing problems affecting check-in and flight departures. The immediate cause of the technical issue was unclear.
But BA is not having much luck with its IT systems. A little more than a year ago it was forced to cancel flights at Heathrow, after problems with a supplier’s IT system. And in May 2017 a massive computer system failure because of a power supply problem left 75,000 customers stranded.
Mick Bradley, VP EMEA at Arcserve said that IT outages like the one which British Airways has suffered could easily cause longer-term reputational damage – as British holidaymakers are unlikely to forgive ruined holidays.
He said that Air traffic control and other critical systems were reliant on constant, 24/7, access to data, and traditional backup and recovery solutions are no longer sufficient.
"With over 3,480 planes taking off or landing every hour worldwide, the shortest periods of limited access to this mission-critical data are enough to cause chaos. Even with a disaster recovery plan in place, which may minimise some of the damage, lost revenue and reputation damage are hard to avoid - even for short periods of downtime", he said.
Airports need better high availability solutions, that provide critical, always-on systems with access to the data, avoiding manual failover or snapshot-based backup, which can cause delays in getting up and running again.
"If airports want to stay out of the headlines this summer and avoid backlash, they need to switch the focus from being on recovery to never needing to recover in the first place so they can concentrate on providing a great experience for holidaymakers.”