British Airways live news: Bank holiday travel chaos as BA cancels nearly 200 flights

UK: British Airways System Outage Sparks Chaos At Heathrow Airport

Thousands of people face having their bank holiday plans plunged into chaos, as British Airways was forced to cancel scores flights following an IT failure.

At least 175 flights, mainly domestic and European, have been cancelled so far on Thursday and Friday, The Independent calculates, as BA strusggles to operate without essential systems.

Given that many planes were fully booked at the start of the bank holiday weekend, the number of passengers affected is likely to top 25,000, with many more seriously delayed and encountering missed connections, on what was expected to be the busiest weekend since 2019.

Pointing to forecasts of above-average temperatures, motoring group RAC said it expected the bank holiday “to be a hectic period on major roads”, with drivers expected to make more than 19 million leisure trips over the last long weekend before August – the most since prior to the pandemic.

While analysts Inrix predict severe delays on the M25, M5, and M6, rail passengers face a bank holiday free of strike action, with very few major engineering works planned.


We’re pausing our live coverage of the bank holiday getaway but keep checking for the latest updates.

Sam Rkaina27 May 2023 00:30


In pictures: Chaos at Heathrow as BA cancels nearly 200 flights

People queue to check in at Heathrow Airport on May 26, 2023 in London, England

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Martha Mchardy27 May 2023 00:00


ICYMI: Bank holiday chaos as British Airways cancels more than 150 flights

British Airways has cancelled dozens more flights following an IT failure on Thursday, what was supposed to be the busiest day for aviation since 2019.

The Independent calculates that at least 156 flights, mainly domestic and European, have been cancelled on Thursday and Friday as BA struggles to operate without essential systems.

In addition, 14 flights were delayed overnight and are expected to arrive during the late morning after delays of 12-16 hours.

Martha Mchardy26 May 2023 23:00


How much damage will this cause to British Airways?

The financial hit will run into millions of pounds: lost revenue from passengers who simply cancel their trips; costs of accommodation and meals for customers who have to wait for onward flights; and compensation under European air passengers’ rights rules.

The reputational damage to BA is considerable; the timing, at the start of half-term for many schools, is especially unfortunate, with some families having invested thousands of pounds in holidays which are now at risk.

But as BA has the majority of slots at Heathrow, the world’s most desirable international airport, it retains a huge structural advantage over other airlines, and is likely to continue to prosper despite this latest failure.

Martha Mchardy26 May 2023 22:00


My flight wasn’t cancelled but I missed my connection and ended up many hours late. Do I still get compensation?

Yes. If you arrive at your final destination at least three hours late, you get the same payment as for a cancellation (except for long-haul flights between three and four hours late, for which the payment is £260).

Martha Mchardy26 May 2023 21:00


British Airways cancels over 150 Heathrow flights in latest IT collapse: what are your rights?

You could just cancel and get a refund, but most people will want to travel despite the cancellation. There are three elements to BA’s obligation to you:

  • A flight as soon as possible on any airline (or train) that can get you to your destination as close to the original schedule as possible. If British Airways is unable to find a seat on the same day, then it must search for a flight on a different airline.
  • Meals and, if necessary, hotel accommodation as appropriate until you are on your way. British Airways is supposed to provide this care, but in practice during severe disruption many passengers fend for themselves and then claim back later.
  • Cash compensation, which ranges between £220 and £520 per person, depending on the length of the flight. Under 1,500km: £220; 1,500-3,500km, £350; above 3,500km, £520. Because of the sheer number of passengers affected, payments are likely to take months rather than weeks.

Martha Mchardy26 May 2023 20:09


Cancelled flights and snarled up roads throw biggest bank holiday rush since 2019 into chaos

As millions of families begin half-term week, and many others start bank holiday weekend getaways, travel within and departing from the UK is looking tumultuous.

The AA has said that 17 million drivers will take to the roads, while British Airways has cancelled 60 more flights to and from London Heathrow.

Martha Mchardy26 May 2023 19:00


Situation at Heathrow ‘shocking’ says man who missed Hans Zimmer concert due to cancellation

One British man has described the situation at Heathrow as “absolutely shocking” as he and his wife missed out on seeing film composer Hans Zimmer perform in Berlin due to British Airways cancelling their flight.

Antony Knights, 44, said that when issues with the Berlin flight were communicated, “Terminal 5 turned into absolute chaos and pretty much everybody was queuing to speak to the desk, and there were only two members of BA staff on it and zero announcements.

“There were only two members of staff manning the queue, which was probably around 100 metres long. There were people everywhere needing assistance.

“It was pretty disappointing and frustrating. Things happen from time to time but this is not the first time British Airways systems have impacted people.”

Antony Knights missed out on seeing a Hans Zimmer concert in Berlin

(Antony Knights/PA Wire )

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 17:56


Heathrow: British Airways delays build with many departures now close to midnight

Our travel correspondent Simon Calder reports:

Residents around London Heathrow airport are in for another noisy late night due to the unravelling schedules at British Airways.

Normally the latest scheduled passenger flights are at 10.40pm: Avianca to Bogota and Air China to Shanghai. But on Thursday night/Friday morning departures continued well into the 11pm hour, with one – to Edinburgh – taking off after midnight.

The 8.40pm from Heathrow to Oslo is currently scheduled to depart at 11.44pm on Friday, with several other flights around two hours late – including the 8.20pm to Prague. It is due to operated by an Airbus A319 that has not yet left Heathrow – but must fly to Budapest and back to London before returning to central Europe.

Holidaymakers wait at British Airways check in at Terminal 3, from which some of the cancelled flights were due to depart

(Simon Calder/The Independent)

(Simon Calder/The Independent)

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 17:04


‘Occurrences like this are becoming all too familiar’

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, said: “The busy holiday season is only just beginning but already BA is breaking its promises to its customers that it would avoid a repeat of last year’s travel chaos, with thousands of passengers now finding themselves in holiday hell as a result of yet another IT disaster.

“Occurrences like this are becoming all too familiar. BA has a legal responsibility to refund or reroute any passenger caught up in the chaos, and travellers shouldn’t be shy about enforcing their rights.”

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 16:40

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