Check-in chaos at airports blamed on tech 'blip'
A computer "blip" that shut down passenger check-in systems for many of the biggest airlines caused chaos at airports across the world this week.
Travellers reported long queues as they tried checking in at Heathrow and Gatwick as well as at international hubs including Washington DC, Paris, Melbourne, Singapore and Johannesburg.
The departures boards at Heathrow showed that planes were typically taking off between 30 minutes and an hour late on Wednesday morning, with a knock-on effect into the afternoon, even after the "network issue" had been fixed.
The airlines affected included British Airways, AirFrance, KLM and Lufthansa, which all use a check-in system called Altea, provided by Amadeus, a Spain-based travel technology firm. It is used by more than 125 airlines, but Amadeus declined to say how many had been hit. The company insisted it had not been attacked by hackers.
One passenger queuing for a London flight wrote on Twitter: "When you've been looking forward to your holiday all year and then all computers at airport crash as you are checking in. ALL SERVERS DOWN."
Shortly after the system went down, a Heathrow spokesman said: "A small number of airlines are currently experiencing intermittent issues with their check-in systems at airports around the world - including at Heathrow. Passengers will still be able to check in for their flight, although the process may take slightly longer than usual."
Gatwick insisted there had been no disruption. "It was a 15-minute blip," said a spokesman. "It is not Gatwick software. It's check-in software for a few airlines that is down."
Amadeus confirmed a "network issue" had been causing disruption. The problems were first reported about 10.30am and the company said the problem had been resolved by just before 2.30pm when it issued a statement to that effect.
It said: "Amadeus can confirm that our systems are recovered and are now functioning normally." (© Daily Telegraph London)