The flick of a switch that left 75000 BA travellers stranded

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 6, 2017

"We didn't have any data corruption". "It's not over yet". It was a failure of electrical power to our IT systems.

It failed on Saturday (UK time) at around 8.30am.

"There was a loss of power to the United Kingdom data centre", says the IAG-owned United Kingdom airline, noting that this "was compounded by the uncontrolled return of power which caused a power surge, taking out our IT systems".

Instead, suggests anecdotal evidence, the meltdown appears to have been triggered by overheating in the data centre, which had been designed in the 1980s, and claims that the data centre and its cooling systems have not been adequately maintained as the building has filled up with hardware. "They know who all the passengers are on all the affected flights and they clearly have the means to pay them back automatically, so why not transfer the money due into their bank accounts?".

The airline was returning to normal on Monday, planning to run more than 95 percent of flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick, with only a handful of short-haul flights canceled.

BA said it would "comply with all of the relevant European Union compensation regulations", including welfare claims such as hotel accommodation, transport to and from hotels, meals and telephone calls. But customers looking to claim non-flight related expenses have been told to claim through their travel insurance first.

People wait with their luggage at the British Airways check in desks at Heathrow Terminal 5 in London, Britain May 28, 2017.

No, disrupted passengers must write a letter of complaint to the airline.

Travel insurance policies only provide cancellation cover for "specified" reasons, such as death, injury or illness - insurers will argue that if the trip is cancelled by the tour operator or airline then it is up to them to provide compensation.

"Problems happen in any business, in any organisation, and it's the company's reaction that makes the difference", she said.

"If you have travel insurance you may be covered for some expenses (such as the cost of food while delayed at the airport), usually payable where you are unable to claim them back from another source, such as the air carrier".

'Those affected should seek compensation, and any refunds of expenses, in the first instance from British Airways.

But the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which represents more than 250 United Kingdom insurance firms, said: 'People affected by the disruption should be able to claim compensation and refunds for any expenses as simply as possible, not be passed from pillar to post.

Corporate services firm GWS said it was the manager of the BA facility and was supporting the investigation.

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