British Airways Computer Glitch Delays Thousands of Passengers

Chris Parypa Photography/

It wasn’t the world’s favorite airline today.

It wasn’t the world’s favorite airline today.

British Airways apologized Sept. 6 for delays caused by an outage of a computerized check-in system this week, the tail end of the busy summer travel season. Customers from London to Atlanta complained about flight delays.

The airline said operations were returning to normal but that the check-in process would take longer than usual. It recommended customers check in before reaching the airport.

The glitch, which still hasn’t been explained, is the latest reminder of how airlines’ reliance on single computer systems intended to speed up booking, boarding and baggage claim can backfire.

BA’s glitch isn’t likely to be as costly as some recent outages at U.S. airlines, which have drawn scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers. The worldwide outage of Delta Air Lines‘ computer systems last month, which grounded hundreds of flights around the world, clipped its revenue last month by $100 million, the airline said. Southwest Airlines had a similar outage in July and a computer outage at United grounded hundreds of flights last year.

British Airways clearly isn’t the only airline to suffer from computer problems. But glitch-free systems could boost as airline’s reputation as much as roomy seats and free snacks.