BA computer glitch causes queues at Heathrow

Flight delays

A computer glitch caused travel chaos and delays for hundreds of passengers at Heathrow Airport yesterday (Thursday).

A fault with a newly installed British Airways check-in system meant passengers were reportedly turned away from flights.

See also: British tourists in Tenerife suffer 38 hour flight delay

See also: Which country suffers the most flight delays?

The glitch is the second in a matter of weeks: the same check-in system failed in June, causing havoc for passengers at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

People took to Twitter to air their grievances against the airline.

One frustrated flier shared a picture of queues at Terminal 5, and tweeted: "T5 queues to do bag drop 60 min - ba get with the 21st century."

Another user posted: "Fed up with @BritishAirways what's the point of online check in if it results in just as long a wait? Bag should mean bag drop #FailToServe."

A BA insider told The Sun that holidaymakers face a summer of "chaos" because of the IT problems with some people turned away even if they arrived with plenty of time to board their flights.

'It's going to be a summer of holiday chaos. The system isn't robust enough for an airport like Heathrow. It's a nightmare," he told The Sun.

British Airways has apologised for the delays but claimed no flights were affected as a result and the issue was now resolved.

A spokesman said: "We are sorry for the disruption to customers' travel plans due to an IT glitch at Heathrow on what was already a very busy morning.

"The issue was resolved as quickly as possible, and all of our flights left as normal.

"Ten million passengers have already used our new check-in system as we introduce it around the world."

The worst airports in the world 2011
See Gallery
The worst airports in the world 2011

The NAIA in Manila has been voted as the 2011 world's worst airport by users of the online travel website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports (, based on reader reviews and poll votes. The website listed reasons such as safety concerns, theft, poor facilities, bribery and lack of comfortable seating. One reader said: 'You will not want to even close your eyes here! Bribery and theft exists. Airport taxes are collected, but the money does not seem to go towards the betterment of the airport.' In terms of facilities, passengers may have better luck at the newer Terminal 3, where it is clean, spacious and offers an internet connection.

It might be the largest airport in France - and one of the busiest in the world - but Paris CDG, which opened in 1974, has since frequently been criticised for its confusing layout, rude staff and ugly buildings. What's more, the seating benches have been deemed uncomfortable and insufficient, and homeless people are said to frequently disturb sleeping travellers.

Frankfurt Hahn also made's worst airports 2011 list. They said: 'Limited seating, bucket seats, and a lack of passenger facilities. A very basic airport for budget airlines.' In a 2010 World's Worst Travel Survey, passengers also complained of 'confusing signage' and 'unpleasant ground staff'.

In a Priority Pass survey in 2010, London Heathrow was voted the least favourite airport, owing to the fact that it is also one of the world's busiest. The problems of winter 2010, when the airport was ill-prepared for bad weather and snow grounded thousands of flights, further weakened its image. Long security queues and hours waiting at  the baggage line have also been cited.

According to Independent writer Peter Popham, Delhi airport's 'carpeting is a thin scarlet runner, and stains are splattered in corners. Creature comforts are negligible. Passport control takes an eternity. Half the trolleys are broken down. They force you to x-ray your luggage coming in to the country as well as going out.' And, according to a survey by Foreign Policy magazine, it also boasts 'aggressive beggars, syringes on the terminal floor, and filthy bathrooms'.

According to reports, 'the odour of faeces and urine abound in this airport, which no doubt attract the hoards of rats, cockroaches and other bugs that scurry around the departures and arrivals area.'  There's also been talk of overflowing toilets, and passengers escaping the airport chaos only to be mugged or beaten on the tarmac outside.

The San Francisco Chronicle describes LAX as 'eight terminals connected by a traffic jam'. And, according to, seating is limited, rude security staff 'automatically assume you are a terrorist or that you will never leave their country', bathrooms are in poor condition, signage is poor, and there are no conveniences for people in transit.... 'not even a 24 hour coffee shop.' Ouch.

This small airport in the town of Lukla in eastern Nepal is popular as it is the gateway to the Mount Everest region in Nepal. But it will give you a nail-biting landing, involving a plummet onto an uphill airstrip cut into the side of a mountain. And on takeoff, the airstrip comes to an abrupt end at the edge of a mountain cliff.

At Dakar's airport 'there is only squalor, an unnerving sense of confinement, and to some extent danger,' said's Patrick Smith. Foreign Policy magzine's survey concurred, writing: 'Dakar has no seats and travellers are targeted by hawkers, porters and security guards who move them on. Immigration takes three hours.'

Don't miss our picture gallery: world's scariest airports!

Simón Bolívar International, known locally as ‘Maiquetia’, is the main international airport in the South American state of Venezuela. It is located around 29km from the centre of the capital, Caracas, and is described as being 'situated practically in the middle of the favelas'. Hundreds of travellers have been robbed or mugged as soon as they left the airport, while kidnapping, stabbings and shootings 'have all occurred before passengers have even reached the taxi line', according to the Matador Network. What's more, you'll be charged a $53 airport tax for the privilege.


Read Full Story