British Airways (BA) has apologised to customers for an IT system failure which occurred this morning.
The issue is affecting three London airports and BA is attempting to compensate customers booked to travel on short-haul services today offering the opportunity to fly on another date.
BA has not yet revealed the reasons for the failure. However, the BBC has reported that the issue was not a global outage, but a problem with two separate systems – one which deals with online check in, the other that deals with flight departures.
British Airways has issued the following statement about the IT outage:
“We are very sorry to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve a systems issue which has resulted in a number of cancellations and delays today.
“A number of flights continue to operate but we are advising customers to check ba.com for the latest flight information before coming to the airport, and to leave additional time.
“We are offering customers booked on short-haul services departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City today, the opportunity to rebook to another day.“
Experts have contacted Intelligent CIO to offer their opinions on the wider issue of airlines limiting disruption during outages.
Steve Blow, Tech Evangelist, Zerto: “Ultimately, the end goal is to maintain regular business operations so that customers will not experience any interruption or frustrations.
“In these situations, many organisations may feel hopeless because the idea of revamping their IT resilience strategy seems complicated and expensive, but with the simplicity and affordability provided by cloud-based advancements, Disaster Recovery systems that were once only possible for the largest, wealthiest organisations are now accessible to all.”
Mike Davies, Vice President Business Partners at Quadient: “This isn’t the first time IT problems have affected holidaymakers and it won’t be the last. When this kind of situation is unfolding, airlines’ top priority will be to resolve the computer problems, but the customer experience provided to passengers waiting at terminals and heading to airports is also crucial.
“There are three steps airlines need to follow to ensure great customer experience during a period of turbulence.
“Firstly, they must open the lines of communication across channels people will actually be using – regular push notifications and social media updates will get information to the customers worst affected.
“Secondly, be prepared to seek outside help – if an airline’s own IT system is incapable of communicating with customers, it should be calling in communications experts to help.
“Finally, they should also communicate proactively and clearly in the aftermath, providing personalised messages that explain to passengers exactly what happened. By following these three steps, airlines will ensure they are on the front foot, rather than sitting back and letting a crisis unfold.”
Tim Dunton, MD, Nimbus Hosting: “Passengers will be wondering why, once again, a major IT outage has been allowed to ruin their travel plans and bring a major airline to a standstill. It’s vital that all organisations which operate cloud-based IT solutions have contingency plans in place to ensure that in the event of a technical glitch or cyberattack, normal systems can continue with minimal disruption. The reality is that incidents such as this do huge damage to customer relationships and undermine trust in the organisation’s ability to manage core processes.”