Snag hits British Airways' computer systems, thousands of passengers affected

British Airways was left struggling with computer problems late yesterday as passengers turned to social media to complain of delays and reached out to the company for answers and assistance.

''Our IT teams are working as hard as they can to quickly fix a problem with our check-in system,'' the company said in a statement. ''We are sorry for the delays some customers are experiencing as they check in for their flights.''

''This has affected a number of our airports,'' it added. ''Our teams are working as hard as they can to resolve the issue.''

However, problems continued to affect a number of flights today. According to British Airways it was checking in customers today at Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport in the London area but that ''it is taking longer than usual.''

The scale of the problem was not immediately clear, but customers expressed frustration online from multiple airports in the US.

The affected airports included Chicago O'Hare International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. According to travelers, bottled water and snacks were distributed at some airports, which saw long delays and irate customers at check-in desks.

Airlines had had a difficult period this summer, with many of them facing technical problems that caused delays and cancellations, according to commentators.

Last month, Delta Air Lines canceled over 1,500 flights after equipment failure at its Atlanta facility led to the worldwide shutdown of its computer systems (See: Delta Air still struggles to cope with systems crash on day 2). Southwest Airlines which faced similar problems in July, had to cancel about 2,300 flights over the course of four days.

Meanwhile with dozens of flights delayed at its London Heathrow and Gatwick hubs, the carrier staff was forced to issue handwritten boarding passes in order to keep flights operating.

The carrier later said systems operations had been restored at bases including Heathrow and Gatwick, though check-in was taking longer than usual due to the backlog of flights.

The airline said travelers could alternatively register via the BA website and print their own boarding passes.

Spokeswoman for the unit of London-based International Consolidated Airlines Group SA Sophie Greenyer said an investigation would be launched to determine the cause of the computer glitch.