Airline systems around the world suffered a breakdown briefly on Thursday 28th September, causing disruptions in major airports worldwide. An issue with one of the core systems that the airlines use to manage their passengers meant that check-in systems in airports all around the world broke down, meaning that even after the issue was resolved many customers were struggling to use the systems.
The issue appeared to be with Armadeus Altea, a piece of software that many airlines use to check people in and out, as well as monitoring them while they do so. A glitch in the software meant that the system shut down temporarily, and although a member of staff at London Gatwick assured people that the system was back up and running again after 15 minutes many still continued to experience problems checking in.
This software is used by around 125 airlines around the globe, and as the software was being used by airlines and not airports it meant that the problem quickly became a worldwide issue, with flyers posting online from all around the world about their problems at airports. The glitch was reported to begin at around 10:30am in the UK, and although reports came through at 11am saying that the service had resumed power, others stated that the systems only began functioning completely normally again at about 2:30pm.
The issue led to problems beginning at some of the world’s biggest airports, including the likes of London Gatwick, Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Regan Airport in Washington DC, and saw airlines including British Airways, France-KLM and Lufthansa struggling to regain working systems for their passengers. Many passengers found themselves delayed at the check-in desks after the crash in the system, as many online check-in systems suffered to, meaning that many passengers were delayed at reaching their flights. Even after the system had regained use, many stated that the check-in process was taking significantly longer than usual, which meant that customers were worried about missing their flights and causing more delays to other flights.
Although the system eventually began running successfully again, it had already caused considerable chaos, meaning that many flights and connection flights were delayed for the day, as one passenger stated that their booking system was down for more than 100 minutes. If you were a passenger that was involved in this system failure and found that your flight was delayed significantly, and maybe even caused you to miss a connecting flight or any other form of transportation, you may be entitled to compensation, as long as your airline doesn’t class the incident as an “extraordinary circumstance”.