Travellers hoping for a relaxing spring getaway have slammed British Airways when a ‘technical issue’ caused dozens of flights across Europe to be cancelled or delayed.
Customers were met with huge queues at check-in desks and were unable to access any boarding information at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on Wednesday.
Passengers who landed at the London terminal were also met with headaches as they claimed they were made to wait up to two hours to disembark.
At least two flights were diverted mid-air from Heathrow to London Gatwick, more than 40 miles away.
Knock-on effects from the tech outage were due to stretch into Thursday with planes in the wrong place and passengers whose flights were cancelled yesterday scrambling to rebook.
Some travellers who spoke with MailOnline were told that there had been a ‘major IT system failure’ and that the backup system had ‘also failed’.
Natalie Stimson, who has waited for almost two hours at Heathrow after landing from Prague, said staff appeared ‘clueless’ as to the IT problem.
Zjelko and Helena Ivos were due to fly on the 9.25pm flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, but arrived to discover the flight had been delayed until 11am today.
Helena, from Loughton, Essex, told MailOnline: ‘It is appalling. We cannot speak to anyone and have just been given a leaflet.
‘We have to find a hotel and now have to get PCR tests as the ones we had will have expired by the time the flight leaves.
‘It is just dreadful and there is no one from the airline who can help. There must be thousands of people trying to get through on the phone. No one has given us any information.’
Another passenger on a flight from Northern Ireland to London told MailOnline: ‘We are stuck on the tarmac at Belfast City airport on the plane.
‘The pilot told us all BA flights suspended due to massive IT issue. None allowed to take off. And sounds like they can’t land at Heathrow.
‘We have no idea what is happening. One passenger next to me said there is more information coming out of Putin’s bunker than BA.
‘No one, including pilots, has a clue what’s going on. It’s utter chaos. Fellow passengers are convinced it’s a major cyber attack.’
Businessman Simon Nayyar meanwhile told MailOnline he was forced to make a dash for the Eurostar after BA told him his flight from Brussels was cancelled 33 minutes after it was meant to take off.
‘By the time [they cancelled the flight]we were already in a taxi, desperately trying to get back to Brussels Midi to catch the last Eurostar,’ said Simon, who forked out £245 for a last minute ticket home.
‘We all appreciate the tremendous challenges that great British companies like BA are facing post-Pandemic.
‘But keeping faith with its loyal, high-spending leisure and business customers when things go wrong could just be a sensible recipe for BA.’
Traveller Charlotte told MailOnline that she was meant to be flying to Barcelona from Heathrow at 4.40pm, but that the flight has been repeatedly pushed back and she still does not have an answer.
‘The lack of information is appalling, the queue for information is huge,’ she said. ‘BA staff in the business lounge are telling passengers that call centres are rebooking people if their flight is cancelled so not to speak to the guest services desk here.
She later added that a staff member told her the system was ‘up and going again’ but the backlog means ‘there are still all these issues’.
‘It’s a shambles, god knows when I’ll fly or when I’ll arrive.’
Flight disruption was also reported by customers waiting to depart on flights from Copenhagen, Paris and Nice bound for the capital.
One eyewitness claimed that staff onboard one BA flight were seen using their personal mobile phones in an attempt to reach the office.