Airline passengers are suffering major disruption at airports around the world after a computer programme which handles passenger check in systems crashed.
Queues formed at check-in desks worldwide this morning after the computer system used by more than 100 airlines crashed.
Problems have been reported at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as Charles de Gaulle Paris, Washington DC, Baltimore, Melbourne, Changi in Singapore, Johannesburg and Zurich.
The check-in system which went down is run by Amadeus Altea, which services 64% of the Star Alliance flights, 75% of One World and 53% of the Sky Team, including BA, AirFrance, KLM and Lufthansa.
The company behind the programme confirmed a ‘network issue’ is causing the problems, but insisted ‘services are gradually being restored’. It declined to comment on whether hackers was behind the problem.
Other airports, including Melbourne (pictured) in Australia, saw huge queues at the check in desks
This was the scene at Gatwick. The system said to have gone down is used by 125 airlines
There were also long queues at some check-in desks at Hong Kong airport today
Passengers were left standing in long queues at airports around the world as the computer problems caused gridlock.
One passenger wrote: ‘If your entire system is down at REAGAN airport in DC, does that mean the planes aren’t leaving on time?’
Another added: ‘After 10 min of standing in queue, the Lufthansa system in the whole Frankfurt airport stops working. Fun’
One tweeted from London: ‘When you’ve been looking forward to your holiday all year and then all computers at airport crash as you are checking in. ALL SERVERS DOWN’
Heathrow’s departures board showed nearly all planes took off between half an hour and an hour late this morning, with some flights scheduled for this afternoon delayed by a similar amount of time.
A spokesman for the airport said: ‘A small number of airlines are currently experiencing intermittent issues with their check-in systems at airports around the world – including at Heathrow.
‘Passengers will still be able to check-in for their flight, although the process may take slightly longer than usual.
‘We are working closely with our airlines to help resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.’
This was the scene at Haneda Airport in Tokyo after the computer glitch cause delays
Long queues also formed at Melbourne airport in Australia due to the glitch
Passengers took to Twitter to tell of their frustration after queues formed at check in desks
A Gatwick Airport spokesman told MailOnline some of their airlines reported faults, but the systems were only down for two minutes.
But other airports, including Melbourne in Australia, saw huge queues at the check in desks as backlogs of passengers quickly formed.
He added: ‘This is an airline issue, not an airport issue. This isn’t Gatwick software, it’s hit a few airlines’ check-in systems which are down. There was no major disruption at Gatwick.
‘They are using Altea software and there are several airlines that use the same software for check-in and it’s that which is affected. They cannot check the passengers in.
‘Things are back up and running after a momentary IT glitch.’
One passenger posted this picture of a long queue at Zurich airport after the glitch today
Problems have been reported in Charles de Gaulle Paris, London Gatwick (pictured, file photo) and Washington DC
A spokesman for Amadeus said: ‘Amadeus confirms that during the morning, we experienced a network issue that caused disruption to some of our systems.
‘As a result of the incident, customers experienced disruption to certain services.
‘Amadeus technical teams took immediate action to identify the cause of the issue and restore services as quickly as possible. That action is ongoing with services gradually being restored. Amadeus regrets any inconvenience caused to customers.’
Flight delay compensation company AirHelp said passengers could be entitled to refunds.
A spokesman said: ‘Depending on the situation an IT glitch might not be regarded as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, so if your flight is delayed or cancelled you could be entitled to up to £510 in compensation.
‘In addition to this, the airline should provide you with meals, refreshments, access to phone calls and emails and if necessary, overnight accommodation.’
Who are Amadeus? The massive tech firm behind today’s glitch
The group operates out of this formidable headquarters in Madrid
Amadeus is a huge technology company which provides IT systems to airlines and travel firms around the world.
Its provides booking and check-in systems for nearly half of the world’s airlines, as well as working with car hire firms, hotels and ferry companies.
It has been a big mover in getting the booking and check-in systems of airlines automated, meaning passengers do much of the work which used to be done by staff, using their phones, laptops or screens in airports.
Founded in 1987, the company now employs around 15,000 people worldwide and reported revenues of around £3.5billion last year, according to its website.
It is currently working on so-called ‘smart’ products which will place technology in hotel rooms and hire cars allowing them to communicate with tourists.