Travellers have complained of hours of delays at Heathrow Airport after dozens of flights were affected by a technical issue with British Airways.
Flights from Terminal 5 were cancelled or delayed by up to five hours on Wednesday, with many passengers venting their frustration on social media.
While the airline said the fault had affected its operation for “a short time” and was resolved shortly before 5.30pm, the vast majority of flights on the airline’s live tracker were shown as departing late or cancelled from 2pm to 9.30pm.
The airline has apologised for the issue and said it “deeply regretted” being forced to cancel flights on Wednesday evening.
Milena Franke, a student from Germany who is currently doing her Erasmus year abroad in Aberdeen, said she was delayed for hours trying to fly from Heathrow to Aberdeen.
The 22-year-old told the PA news agency: “I‘ve been traveling from Germany to London Heathrow today with the initial plan of traveling further to Aberdeen. However, after landing in Heathrow around 9am, my flight to Aberdeen got cancelled right before I was supposed to walk to my gate.
“As I didn‘t know who to approach directly, I spent most of my time waiting for someone from the BA customer service hoping to receive further details but not a single person offered help.
“Instead, I got advised to rebook my flight and select the next one leaving in the evening. However, this flight also got cancelled.
“BA eventually managed to rebook my flight for tomorrow morning and upgraded me with the business class. It has been a terrifying experience, eventually resulting in the fact that I am now staying in a hotel with a slight hope of finally getting to travel tomorrow.”
He told PA: “Originally, our flights were due to leave at 8am this morning and so we were all ready to get the kids in bed last night for a 4am wake up only to be emailed at 7pm to say our flights had been cancelled and rearranged until later in the afternoon.
“They only gave us an hour to connect in Heathrow so we had to fight to get an earlier flight there… but then ended up stuck in Heathrow from 3pm and still not taken off.
“It’s been a comedy of errors, like no crew to board the plane, no crew to load the bags and now no clue what’s happening.
“Obviously I feel gutted and exhausted. More about the lack of communication than anything else.
“It’s been a stressful day, but we’ll do what we have to for the kids.”
The issue is the latest to beset the airline in recent months.
In late February, the airline was forced to cancel all short-haul flights from Heathrow for several hours due to a hardware problem.
Passengers described the incident as “absolute chaos” as it caused flight delays, with passengers stuck on planes after landing at the airport and baggage piling up.
The airline apologised at the time for the issue.
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “While we were able to resolve the temporary technical issue we experienced earlier today quickly and resume flight operations at Heathrow Terminal 5, we deeply regret that we have now had to cancel some of our flights this evening.
“We are taking steps to ensure as many customers as possible travel as planned.
“We have apologised to our customers for the inconvenience we have caused them, are offering to refund or rebook them onto alternative flights, and providing refreshment vouchers and hotel accommodation where needed.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “A technical issue which affected British Airways this afternoon has now been resolved.
“We are working with our airport partners to assist passengers whose journeys have been disrupted and have deployed additional resource in our terminals. Passengers are still advised to check their flight status with British Airways before travelling to the airport due to a number of resulting cancellations. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”