By Simon Browning
Transport producer

Image source, Angharad Prys Evans

Image caption,

Angharad Prys Evans and her family

Frustrated British Airways passengers have been caught up in a second weekend of delays and cancellations.

BA has cancelled many flights following IT problems just a few days after huge disruption caused by Storm Eunice.

Families who faced long delays and lost bags when travelling to Italy last week have now endured more cancellations trying to get home.

Passengers said their experiences with the airline were “utterly disastrous” and “truly woeful”.

“We’re desperately sorry for any customers caught up in this weekend’s situation,” British Airways responded.

“Even more so for customers caught up in the initial weather episode that have now been hit by our systems issues,” the airline added.

Andy Miles and his family were caught in storm disruption last weekend, when their Turin-bound flight was delayed for hours.

“The carnage with BA is unspeakable, it is unbelievable,” Mr Miles told the BBC.

When the Miles family eventually arrived in Italy, their checked-in luggage had been lost.

Image source, Andy Miles

Image caption,

Andy Miles on holiday in the French Alps with his wife and daughters

Mr Miles spent more than £1,300 on emergency clothes and toiletries for his family until their bags arrived four days later.

On Sunday he was notified his return flight was cancelled because of IT system failures.

Mr Miles and his family were offered a new return British Airways flight next Thursday which was not feasible, so he has paid for brand new flights with a different airline.

“How embarrassing for our national carrier, all the ‘budget’ airlines are able to operate back to the UK and the only one in ‘Red’ is BA.

“This is truly woeful and the chief executive Sean Doyle should be quizzed for the root cause and his genuine plans to fix the systematic failings,” Mr Miles added.

Mr Miles, a chief executive of a cyber security business, has also accused BA of not having enough customer resources and criticised their IT systems.

“This problem is systematic of years of under investment and lacking in digital transformation,” Mr Miles said.


Image source, Andy Miles

Image caption,

Departure board in Turin showing cancellation

Angharad Prys Evans said her experience with British Airways was “utterly disastrous”.

“I am still in total disbelief about the way we have been treated; the lies, the lack of communication, the poor decision making, and the incompetence is beyond me” she added.

Ms Prys Evans was also travelling with a group of 28 people last Saturday, on a different British Airways flight to Turin.

The flight was delayed overnight after being postponed for hours and passengers were sent on buses from Heathrow to Gatwick, where families were given rooms with just one double bed.

They travelled back to Heathrow the next morning and departed for Turin later in the day, but arrived without any luggage.

The party of 28 from Llantrisant, South Wales, estimated that they spent more than £10,000 buying emergency clothes and equipment because of British Airways’ failure to get their luggage to them. They spent hours every day trying to get information on their luggage which began to arrive four days later.

Image source, Prys Evans

Image caption,

Part of the group from Llantrisant, South Wales, waiting around at Heathrow last week

On Sunday, Mrs Prys Evans was caught up in IT problems and again suffered long delays trying to getting home.

“We were watching flight after flight being cancelled. We didn’t believe it was ever going to take off and gave up as we have totally lost faith in BA so I’m currently sitting on a Jet2 plane,” Mrs Prys Evans told the BBC.

Other passengers have also contacted the BBC to express their anger and frustration about how difficult it is to get information from the airline about their bags and flights.

Storm Eunice havoc

Airlines around the world have faced a difficult two years. British Airways has gone through significant restructuring and is rebuilding after the pandemic. British Airways maintains it has significant business resilience in place.

Last week, British Airways acknowledged it had “let people down” which it said was “not good enough”. The airline added that it was doing “absolutely everything” it could to improve the situation.

Storm Eunice battered the south of England last weekend and created huge problems for airports and airlines.

Flights struggled to land and British Airways faced difficulties operating machinery needed to process inbound and outbound flights, including lifts and trolleys needed for offloading baggage and catering trolleys.

At one point, there were reports that 11,000 bags were stuck at Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5 with staff brought in from many British Airways departments to send bags onwards to destinations.

Image source, Angharad Prys Evans

Image caption,

Luggage at Heathrow

British Airways has said in a statement that their teams have “worked around the clock” to resolve the technical issues experienced and said that the “vast majority” of flights were due to operate as planned.

“Unfortunately, with some of our crew and aircraft out of position as a result of the weekend’s disruption, we’ve regrettably had to cancel a small number of short-haul flights,” the company added.

The firm said it had been in touch with affected customers to apologise and offer them the choice of a refund or to rebook onto alternative services.

“We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience our customers have experienced and thank them for their patience and understanding during this incredibly frustrating period.”