British Airways cancelled all its flights out of its London Heathrow and Gatwick hubs in the UK on Saturday following a major IT system failure. The outage coincided with the Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.
“Following the major IT system failure experienced earlier today, with regret we have had to cancel all flights leaving from Heathrow and Gatwick for the rest of today, Saturday, May 27,” British Airways said in a statement.
The airline, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A. (IAG.L,BAIRY.PK,BAY.L), noted that the system outage also affected the airports, its call centers and its website, adding that it will update customers as soon as it was able to.
The airline also said there was no evidence so far that the IT outage was caused by a cyber attack.
Thousands of passengers were stranded as British Airway struggled to re-accommodate inbound and outbound passengers. The airline is the largest carrier in the UK, based on its fleet size.
Several passengers on social media described “chaotic” scenes at the airports, with many criticizing the airline for a lack of information.
“No check in. No bags working. Queues everywhere. Planes cancelled. No information. No help. Not even a tannoy. Massive,” one passenger tweeted.
In its latest statement on its website, British Airways apologized for the “significant level of disruption” caused to customers.
The airline said affected customers can claim a full refund or re-book to a future date for travel up until the end of November 2017. The company noted that although some of the IT systems have returned, “there will be some knock-on disruption to its schedules as aircraft and crews are out of position around the world.”
“Customers are urged to keep any food, transport or accommodation receipts and can make a claim in due course through our Customer Relations teams. There are a significant number of bags at Heathrow which we will be reuniting with customers via couriers as soon as we can. This will be done free…