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British Airways check-in system brought down by IT glitch

(Image credit: Image Credit: Bychykhin Olexandr / Shutterstock)

British Airways (BA) has apologised to a number of its passengers who experienced long delays after an IT problem took its check-in desks offline.

Passengers flying with the airline complained of significant delays at its check-in desks, baggage drop and even on the tarmac waiting to take-off.  A number of those afflicted by delays took to social media to express how difficult it was to check-in and board their flights.

Twitter user John Bevir shed some light on the delays occurring at British Airways' check-in desks when he tweeted: “Huge computer issue affecting British Airways across USA. Friend at #Dulles (Washington airport) tells me pilots by gate but passengers still trying to check in!”

Though some passengers were able to check in before the IT glitch occurred, those who had not were left waiting even longer as BA staff were unable to verify which passengers had already gone through security as a result of losing access to their computer systems.

A financial analyst from London named Matthew Walker waited for over two hours to board a flight to Heathrow and gave an account of the experience, saying: “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 how had already gone through the gate because all the systems literally just had a meltdown.”

To rectify the problem, British Airways resorted to issuing its customers handwritten boarding passes and baggage labels. The airline has since apologised for the outage and has urged passengers to check in online before travelling to the airport.

A similar outage occurred in July when British Airways experienced long delays at check-in at Heathrow and Gatwick. The delays were caused by a recent upgrade to the airline's check-in system which was upgraded in October of last year with the rollout coming to completion this year. 

Image Credit:  Bychykhin Olexandr / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.