Earlier this summer, two of the world’s most financially and operationally sound airlines, Delta and Southwest, were forced to delay and cancel thousands of flights due to problems with their respective software systems.
It would be comforting to think those disruptions were one-offs, exceptions to the rule of reliability that most travelers depend on. But this morning’s news suggests otherwise.
According to numerous sources, British Airways’ check-in software has malfunctioned, causing delays at airports worldwide. There are reports of waits of up to five hours.
While British Airways can presumably delay its own flight departures to accommodate passengers affected by the check-in slow-downs, many flyers with tight connections from those late-arriving flights will find themselves out of luck.
With such a significant event disrupting the plans of so many customers, you might expect to find apologies and reaccommodation suggestions prominently displayed on British Airways’ website. A search, however, failed to turned up any references to the problem whatsoever. And the airline’s Twitter feed is equally devoid of any meltdown mentions or offers of assistance.
Adding to the already-high levels of stress associated with air travel, systemwide computer outages have become an increasingly common occurrence, raising the prospect of not only cramped, uncomfortable flights, but of cramped, uncomfortable flights that are delayed or cancelled.
It’s the new normal. Plan accordingly.
Reader Reality Check
Have you started factoring into your travel planning the possibility of flight delays or cancellations?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.