British Airways computer systems have crashed across the world, causing queues at airports.
Passengers tok to social media to say they were stuck waiting on their planes for more than two hours.
Passengers claimed claimed the website was not working and they were met with an ‘error’ page when they tried to check in online. The website was later fixed.
Several travellers at Heathrow said they were not told their flights were cancelled until more than an hour after the airline put out a press statement announcing the decision.
BA initially cancelled all flights before 6pm on Saturday but later announced that planes would be grounded for the rest of the day and warned passengers not to go to the airports.
The glitch was believed to have been caused by a power supply issue, the airline said, and there was no evidence of a cyber-attack.
If the BA system failure is a technical problem, rather than a cyber-attack, then and flight delays or cancellations resulting from the technical problems would be eligible for compensation under EU regulation 261/2004.
Something like a computer hack or cyber-attack could possibly be argued by British Airways in this instance as an extraordinary circumstance, although this argument has yet to be properly tested in court.
If the BA flight is cancelled or delayed due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ then the airline does not have to pay compensation to passengers. It does though still have a duty of care and assistance. Regardless of the reason for the delay, care and assistance is an obligation and includes:
- Food and drink in reasonable relation to the waiting time
- Overnight accommodation where necessary
- Travel to and from the airport and accommodation
- Two free calls, emails, or fax messages
Delays of more than three hours for short-haul flights (up to 1,500km or 930 miles) get compensation of €250 (£218); while the figure is €400 for medium-haul trips (1,500km to 3,500km).
For long-haul flights (more than 3,500km), delays of between three and four hours have compensation set at €300; for delays longer than four hours the figure is €600.
Airlines are required to give passengers food and drinks for delays of more than two hours, as well as hotel accommodation for overnight delays and transfers.
The airline has apologised and said it was ‘working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible’.