Airline Computer Problems Strike Again

Sept. 6, 2016 – It’s happened again, airline computer problems; this time the victim is British Airways and its passengers.

Airline Computer Problems: British Airways

According to news reports, some sort of problem shut down the international carrier’s self-service check-in kiosks for several hours today at an unknown number of international airports; this in turn created “significant delays” as passengers that normally check-in on their known crowded airport desks to get their boarding passes.

As noted, this was not the first technical glitch of the summer and travel expert (and FareCompare CEO) Rick Seaney has noted it’s past time for airlines to start putting more of their revenue into upgrading what appear to be numerous antiquated computer systems.

Airline Computer Problems: Delta, Southwest, United

In August, Delta ultimately canceled more than 1,500 flights because of an equipment failure in Atlanta that led to a worldwide shutdown of its system. In July, Southwest canceled more than 2,300 flights over four days due to computer system problems and it had similar issues last October. A year ago, United had to ground flights across the U.S. due to its own technical glitch.

Airline Computer Problems: What You Can Do

If you have an airline travel problem due to computer problems or anything else, some suggestions:

  • Stay in touch with the airline: Twitter may be the fastest way to get answers, but also check the airline’s website and consider calling (though if the problems are severe, this could take hours). Be sure the airline has your contact information; usually carriers send out texts and email alerts in such situation.
  • If you’re at the airport: Get in line and get on the phone to either get on your plane or rebook. Look up other flights and see if you can get on, and see if your airline will pay for it.
  • Patience and compensation: When systems fail, sometimes there's just not much you can do. However, airlines will usually toss you some sort of bone such as a $200 voucher for future travel but if not, contact the carrier, state your case, and politely ask for compensation. If you are a miles member with status, now is the time to pull rank.
Anne McDermott
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