Queue outside Heathrow Airport after a major IT problem caused BA to cancel most flights
Airports were reduced to a second day of Bank Holiday chaos as stranded holidaymakers slept on yoga mats on the floor beside piled-up luggage.
More than a third of flights from Heathrow Airport were cancelled as software engineers battled on to restore the firm’s IT system.
But critics blamed BA chief executive Alex Cruz for lacking experience and said the firm blundered by farming British jobs overseas to save money.
The average claim will be around £300. That’s £90million – a monumental amount
James Walker – Chief executive of Resolver claims website
Up to 300,000 customers on more than 1,000 flights are thought to have been affected by Saturday’s “power supply” defect which shut down BA flights from Heathrow and Gatwick.
James Walker, chief executive of the Resolver claims website, said: “The average claim will be around £300. That’s £90million – a monumental amount.
“But when you add in the cost of hotels the airline has to provide, the cost could top £150million. It could be the biggest payout ever.”
Travellers attempted to catch up on some much-needed sleep at the airport
Mr Cruz admitted there would be further short haul cancellations and delays to both short and long haul.
He also warned that Heathrow was “very congested” and said anyone should check their flight is still running before going to the airport.
“If you are flying from Heathrow today, please don’t turn up too early,” he said.
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“Customers are not being admitted to Terminal 5 until 90 minutes before their flight’s scheduled departure.”
He added: “I know this has been a horrible time for customers. Some of you have missed holidays. Some of you have been stranded on aircraft and some of you have been separated from your bags.
“Many of you have been stuck in long queues while waiting for information.”
Alex Cruz, BA chief executive
At Heathrow, which bore the brunt of today's continued meltdown, no fewer than 36 flights were cancelled, compared to 90 which had left.
Among those affected was Jeremy Corbyn, who was forced to cancel an afternoon appearance in Glasgow as his flight there was cancelled.
Chloe Thomas, a Welsh international table tennis player, arrived this morning to find her flight to the world championships in Dusseldorf was cancelled.
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She said: “We stood in the check-in queue, not moving for about an hour, then it came up on the screen that the flight was cancelled. To be honest I wasn’t surprised. We didn’t think we would make the flight as we were in the queue for such a long time.”
Mick Rix, national aviation officer at staff union GMB, said the company had farmed out British jobs to Indian staff on a fraction of the wage.
He said: “We can only feel genuinely sorry for the tens of thousands of passengers who are stranded at airports and face having their travel plans and holidays ruined.
Up to 300,000 customers were thought to be affected
“This could have all been avoided. In 2016 British Airways made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India.
“BA have been making substantial profits for a number of years – and many viewed the company’s actions as just plain greedy.”