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Anger as British Airways tech glitch causes long delays for travellers around world

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Published 06/09/2016

People queuing at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in the USA after an IT glitch hit British Airways check-in systems. Pic: Matthew Walker/PA Wire
People queuing at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in the USA after an IT glitch hit British Airways check-in systems. Pic: Matthew Walker/PA Wire
People queuing at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in the USA after an IT glitch hit British Airways check-in systems. Pic: Matthew Walker/PA Wire
Angry British Airways passengers complained of hours queuing at airports

British Airways apologised to passengers for delays after an IT glitch hit check-in systems around the world.

Furious travellers complained of hours queuing at airports but the airline said it is not a worldwide problem as some passengers had described it.

A spokeswoman confirmed passengers are being checked in at Heathrow and Gatwick but said the process would be "a bit slower than usual".

Asked where the IT problems are, the spokeswoman said: "It is patchy."

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Responding to passengers on Twitter, the airline wrote: " We apologise to our customers for the delay and we appreciate their patience as our IT teams work to resolve this issue."

It added: "Our colleagues are doing everything possible to check in customers for their journey."

Ewan Crawford, of Glasgow, said he was at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

He tweeted: " Never a good sign when they deliver water to the gate! Waiting at ORD for @British_Airways 296. Worldwide computer outage apparently! Hmm."

Staff with clipboards were writing manual boarding passes for passengers, one delayed traveller at Seattle Airport said.

Matthew Walker had been waiting for more than two hours to board his flight back to Heathrow.

The 29-year-old financial analyst, who lives in London but is originally from Australia, checked in online before arriving to catch his flight but said staff on the ground could not access their computer systems to see which passengers had gone through security.

Speaking from the airport, he told the Press Association: "People were lining up, some had already checked in and got through security, but others, when this thing happened, whatever it is, were stuck in the check-in queue.

"So they (the staff) have the problem that they didn't know who had already gone through the gate because all the systems literally just had a meltdown, basically."

In July the airline had to apologise after a glitch in its new check-in system caused delays.

BA began installing the new system at airports across the world in October last year and the rollout was completed earlier this year.

On the latest issues the airline said in a statement: " We are checking in customers at Heathrow and Gatwick Airport this morning, although it is taking longer than usual.

"We would encourage customers to check in online before they reach the airport.

"We are sorry for the delay to their journeys."

Passengers at Heathrow Terminal 5 reported waits of about 45 minutes to check in.

Elaine and Paul Barnett, who had come from Sheffield to travel to Sardinia, said the process had taken "longer than usual" and they had been required to give extra details once they reached the desk.

"You really have to get here early and expect that it's busy," Ms Barnett said.

Earlier problems appeared to have been smoothed out by early morning, with most queues moving.

Patrick Darby, from Dulwich, who was travelling to Russia, said he had not kept track of how long the queue had taken.

"There was a hold-up when nothing seemed to happen but that has eased up now," he said.

He said he had not encountered any problems as he checked in at the desk.

British Airways has tweeted that it is checking in passengers "as normal" at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

If you have been caught up in the disruption contact us at digital.editorial@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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