Some displaced British Airways (BA) passengers were still reeling today from the weekend of chaos which was reportedly triggered by an IT glitch.
The system failure disrupted the plans of over 75,000 travellers internationally who were left in a state of disarray, as flights from Gatwick and Heathrow were grounded.
The BA breakdown also affected hundreds of passengers who were due to fly in and out of Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) from Saturday but were left stranded without official explanation.
When contacted GAIA Corporate Communications Specialist Keith Goddard said the airport would not comment on the delays.
However, one Barbadian passenger who was scheduled to leave on BA 2154 to London on Saturday complained to Barbados TODAY about a lack of communication between ground staff and passengers. He said many, including himself, were left in the dark and were forced to resort to BA’s official website in search of information on what went wrong.
“Basically they just gave us the number for reservations and they were giving accommodation to the visitors . . . [but] I don’t think they treated the locals as well as tourists. I don’t know if that was to be expected, but to me, they didn’t really tell us much at all. They just gave us the number for reservations and said they can’t do much because it is not a booking issue,” said the passenger, who did not want to be identified.
However, after an uncertain three–day wait, he said his flight had been re-scheduled for Tuesday.
Barbados TODAY’s Editor-in-Chief Kaymar Jordan was also affected by the BA glitch.
Her flight from South Korea landed at Heathrow airport on schedule on Saturday. However, all passengers were forced to wait on the tarmac for four hours from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., as there was no parking gate available to accept BA018 arriving from Seoul.
With officials appearing to be clueless about what went wrong or how to resolve the situation, in the end, passengers were eventually dispatched by bus at Heathrow’s Terminal 2, only to learn that they would not be able to collect their baggage on Saturday night and that no accommodation whatsoever had been made by BA for the hundreds, including many who were without meals or a place to stay.
“The whole episode was just very exhausting having just arrived on an 11-hour flight and then having to wait for another four before even leaving the tarmac.
“Thankfully, I was able to secure a hotel, but that was close to Gatwick and it was well after midnight when I eventually made my way there since the entire Heathrow airport was thrown in absolute chaos with stranded passengers everywhere,” she told Barbados TODAY.
While Jordan was able to make her scheduled flight to Barbados on Sunday, up to late this evening there was still no word on her luggage, which up to late Saturday was still to be located at Heathrow.
In the midst of the chaos, many travellers out of Barbados have been forced to turn to BA’s competitor Virgin Atlantic. The airline saw an influx of passengers over the weekend, who were desperate to reach their destination.
Caribbean Commercial Manager André Bello told Barbados TODAY that Virgin Atlantic was merely playing its role in alleviating the situation.
“We cooperate as much as we can when another airline has any kind of issue. Our objective is just to make sure we can play our role,” he said.
In the meantime, BA officials are hoping that normality will return to its system by Friday. (KK)