Worldwide airport chaos after computer check-in systems crash

Long queues at the Thomas Cook check-in desks at Gatwick Airport on Thursday morning - Jerry Gandhi/Twitter
Long queues at the Thomas Cook check-in desks at Gatwick Airport on Thursday morning - Jerry Gandhi/Twitter
  • Passengers struggle to check-in due to systems failure

  • 'Glitch' with software used by 125 airlines from 10.30am

  • Delays at airports including Heathrow and Gatwick

  • Problems also appear to affect some online check-ins

  • Software firm confirms 'network issue' caused disruption

  • Systems 'recovered' and 'functioning normally' by 2.30pm

Air passengers have been suffering major disruption at airports around the world after computer check-in systems crashed.

Problems were reported at airports including London's Heathrow and Gatwick, Charles de Gaulle in Paris,  Zurich, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Changi in Singapore and Washington DC's Reagan Airport.

Travellers endured delays at check-in desks after the outage from about 10.30am on Thursday.

Passengers queue amid check-in delays - Credit: osamanasir/Twitter
Passengers queue amid check-in delays at Melbourne airportCredit: osamanasir/Twitter

The problem affected Amadeus Altea software used by 125 airlines and appeared to also have hit some online check-ins.

Gatwick described the situation as a "momentary IT glitch" and said it was not causing flight delays, adding that it believed the system was "back up and running" after about 15 minutes.

Heathrow said it was causing "intermittent" problems, but that passengers were still able to check-in, "although the process may take slightly longer than usual".

Baltimore/Washington International airport delays - Credit: PoorRobin/Twitter
Queues at Baltimore/Washington International airportCredit: PoorRobin/Twitter

Amadeus, the Spanish travel technology that provides the software, confirmed a "network issue" had been causing disruption.

In a statement at shortly before 2.30pm, it said: "Amadeus can confirm that our systems are recovered and are now functioning normally.

 

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"During the morning, we experienced a network issue that caused disruption to some of our systems. As a result of the incident, customers experienced disruption to certain services.

"Our technical teams took immediate action to identify the cause of the issue and mitigate against the impact on customers. Amadeus regrets any inconvenience caused to customers."

2:14PM

'This was a worldwide failure': How airports were affected

Frankfurtairport operator Fraport said that Germany's largest carrier, Lufthansa, and partner airlines had been hit by a problem for around 30 minutes that prevented bags being checked in, but said the issue had been resolved.

A spokesman for Groupe ADP, which operates more than a dozen airports in the greater Paris region, confirmed airlines using the Amadeus system had been affected at the French capital's Charles de Gaulle airport.

"This was a worldwide failure (of the Amadeus system). We were no worse affected than other airports. It only lasted a few minutes," the spokesman said. He said national carrier Air France was among the airlines that used Amadeus.

In Washington, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Southwest Airlines reported a computer issue causing a few minor delays at Reagan National Airport of up to 16 minutes but there were no other issues at present.

1:45PM

What might passengers be entitled to if flights are delayed?

Passengers whose flights are delayed as a result of the IT glitch should be entitled to compensation if it is not classed as an "extraordinary circumstance".

Paloma Salmeron Planells, from flight delay compensation company AirHelp, said:

“Following the news of Amadeus Altea check-in software crash, passengers worldwide could miss their holidays, lose their luggage or even be left stranded in the airport.

“Depending on the situation an IT glitch might not be regarded as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, so if your flight is delayed or cancelled you could be entitled to up to £510 in compensation. 

"In addition to this, the airline should provide you with meals, refreshments, access to phone calls and emails and if necessary, overnight accommodation.

“Amadeus Altea services 64 per cent of the Star Alliance, 75 per cent of One World and 53 per cent of the Sky Team, which means the issues with the software could affect over 120 airlines, including BA, AirFrance, KLM and Lufthansa."

1:28PM

KLM also reporting check-in problems in the Netherlands

KLM in the Netherlands is reporting problems, reports Senay Boztas.

In reply to a customer's request on Twitter, the airline said: "We are still experiencing technical issues at this moment.

"Unfortunately we cannot give you a time-frame at this moment."

1:20PM

Will this affect my holiday and will I be compensated? Your questions answered

Airport IT chaos | What is check-in software?
Airport IT chaos | What is check-in software?

12:51PM

Video shows length of queues at Gatwick Airport

While queues at Gatwick have now subsided after a spokesman said the systems were "back up and running", this video shows how long queues were at the Thomas Cook check-in desk earlier:

Have a video pic.twitter.com/zXOoBT0mtv


— Jerry Gandhi (@JerryGandhi) September 28, 2017

12:45PM

Check-in queues at airports in Tokyo and Hong Kong

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12:28PM

Heathrow 'working closely with airlines to solve issue'

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12:12PM

Software firm: 'Services are gradually being restored'

Amadeus, the company that provides check-in software for more than 100 airlines around the world, has confirmed it is experiencing a "network issue that is causing disruption".

“Technical teams are working on the problem, services are gradually being restored," it is reported to have said.

11:58AM

Heathrow confirms airlines at terminals 2, 3 and 4 affected

Heathrow Airport has confirmed that airlines at three of its terminals have been experiencing systems problems that have caused check-in delays.

A spokeswoman 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.

"We are working closely with our airlines to help resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

Several airlines at Terminals 2, 3 and 4 are affected.

11:41AM

What passengers have been seeing when they try to check-in online

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11:27AM

Pictures of long queues at airports around the world

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11:21AM

'Pack patience': Passengers report huge check-in queues

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11:12AM

Update: 'Things back up and running' at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport has just got back in touch.

"Things are back up and running after a momentary IT glitch," a spokesman said.

It is not clear if the issue has been fixed at all airports

11:10AM

Gatwick Airport: Check-in software affecting multiple airlines

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: "This is an airline issue, not an airport issue. This isn't Gatwick software, it's hit a few airlines' check-in systems which are down.

"They are using Altea software and there are several airlines that use the same software for check-in and it's that which is affected.

"They cannot check the passengers in."

The spokesman could not confirm which airlines are affected.

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