If ever there was a time for British Airways to have an IT meltdown, it’s probably fair to say that the May Bank Holiday weekend and the start of half-term for schools in England and Wales wasn’t exactly ideal. So were you affected by the flight delays and cancellations?
It hit national news on Saturday that British Airways (BA) had suffered a massive IT systems failure causing global disruption and resulting in the cancellation of all BA flights leaving from London’s Gatwick and Heathrow.
While not all crises can be prevented, the coming weeks will probably reveal more about how they can be handled.
BA flights cancelled
My family were among those affected by the IT failure. My parents, sister, brother-in-law and six-month-old nephew were due to head off to Mauritius on Saturday evening for a wedding.
Conscious that they were travelling with a baby and on a long haul flight they had the whole trip meticulously arranged, having spent the best part of a year planning it. So they were completely heartbroken on Saturday when they heard the news that BA flights were cancelled.
Having followed the advice not to go to the airport, they were solely reliant on the news and public messaging from BA for updates as they couldn’t get any information directly from the company for a long period of time.
At one point, it looked like the holiday they’d spent a year planning and saving for would be off.
However, they managed to get through to a BA customer service agent who was incredibly helpful and got them booked onto Monday’s flight – she even stayed in the office until gone midnight to try and help affected passengers.
While they’d managed to get on a flight yesterday evening, the 48 hours in-between were incredibly stressful. However, it could have been a lot worse, as it was for these people:
— Tom Phipps (@tomphippsnews) May 27, 2017
My family’s experience was very mixed too. One BA representative they spoke to said they probably wouldn’t be entitled to compensation because their destination wasn’t within the European Union. As a Which? employee, I knew this wasn’t the case – the Denied Boarding Regulation covers flights that depart from an airport within the EU whatever the airline.
The regulation also covers flights for passengers departing from an airport outside the EU for an airport within the EU, if the airline is based in an EU state – which BA is.
I’m hoping my family will be able to enjoy the rest of their holiday, but I know the journey to get there has been a bit of a nightmare. It’s been especially difficult for them as they had booked months in advance for a special seat with access to a carrycot, which they were unable to reserve on the new flight.
Have you, or someone you know, been affected? Do you think BA has given clear information on the situation and compensation procedures? Have you tried to rebook or claim compensation? What more could BA do for its passengers?