British Airways Debacle: Massive Power Surge Took Out the IT Center – AND the Backup

Cancelled Flights Departures BoardBritish Airways is having a no good, very bad week, following a massive IT crash that stranded 75,000 passengers on a busy holiday weekend. Now it’s having to bounce back with additional struggles over missing luggage, travel insurance, reputational damage, and a staggering financial cost.

The IT failure at a data center near London’s Heathrow airport wasn’t actually caused by a power failure – but by the overwhelming, uncontrolled surge once the electricity was restored, one so powerful it knocked out the back-up system, too.

By Monday, the domino effect of Saturday’s cancellations over 170 airports meant even after restoring services, passengers booked days after were also subject to delays. It also meant that even the passengers who were able to board the limited number of flights from the UK landed well before their luggage did (including several bridesmaids who arrived at a destination wedding without their dresses).

Those customers attempting to get money back via travel insurance are dealing with additional headaches from BA’s online compensation form. The Association of British Insurers is accusing BA of complicating the claims process and giving passengers incorrect information.

The estimated cost of the outage: 82 million euros ($91.6 million USD) – and a reputational black eye that could take a long time to heal.

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