British Airways' global IT check-in systems have gone down, causing huge problems and long delays for customers. Staff were forced in some instances to write out boarding cards by hand.
The problems started in the US just after midnight UK time but, as ever with delays like this, the effects were felt around the world, not just as the computer problems spread but because delayed planes ended up in the wrong place.
Customers are being advised to check-in as normal, although Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been using manual back-up systems which are slowing things down.
The BA.com status update page was down at the time of writing, but the company acknowledged the problem in response to a customer query on Twitter.
@pjburrage We've been experiencing long queues, Peter. We've been advising passengers to check in online and arrive at the airport earlier.— British Airways (@British_Airways) September 6, 2016
This is in direct contradiction of BA's only official statement on the matter in which the firm said that everything is fine.
We are checking in customers as normal at Heathrow and Gatwick this morning.— British Airways (@British_Airways) September 6, 2016
The airline, which is in the process of rolling out onboard WiFi, has already had teething problems with a new check-in system and had to make apologies in July after long delays at Heathrow and Gatwick.
The system has been gradually rolled out since October 2015 which, as BA pointed out, is no mean feat with 700 flights a day. Hollow succour, however, for those affected.
BA is not alone. Last month, American carrier Delta Air Lines flights were grounded around the world after a 'small fire' caused the cancellation of 2,000 flights globally. Less than a month earlier, Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel a similar number of internal US flights.
Social media is awash with photos of queues, handwritten boarding passes and pictures of airport breakfasts.
BA has yet to comment on the cause of the problems.
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