British Airways website outage delays check-in for passengers

BA blames crash on IT database upgrade, but failover capacity questioned

Plane

A British Airways outage subjected passengers to long delays in online check-in yesterday, preventing access to most features on the site.

The outage started around midday and lasted until 7pm. Passengers were unable to book, check-in online, and access customer accounts. 

In a statement, BA said: "Unfortunately, the IT system which manages the online check-in function has not been fully fixed and therefore we have taken the decision to switch it off for the time being. We recognise the frustration this is causing some customers and we are trying to fix it as an urgent priority."

"If you are flying with us on Tuesday evening or Wednesday, please check-in at the airport and arrive in good time for your flight as we expect some of the major airports on our network to be busier than usual at what is already a busy time of year with the Easter holidays."

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The outage comes after British Airways made hundreds of IT workers redundant late last year.

The website is back up and running, and in a Twitter update yesterday evening, the airline said the problem was "related to an IT system upgrade to some databases we carried out overnight".

Robert Castley, senior performance engineer at Catchpoint, said he noticed that BA.com uses Akamai for serving all its content. "However, when the site went down, all the static contents of the page such as images that were served by Akamai continued to be available. For example, their logo was still accessible," he said.

Mehdi Daoudi, co-founder and CEO of Catchpoint, added that it would be interesting to find out if BA.com had any redundancy or failover plans to handle scenarios such as this, as it "looks like they were caught off-guard this time".

"It's unfortunate that it happened at a very busy time when many people will be travelling for Easter. The most important take away from this incident is that we all have a duty to our customers to provide the best service possible, under any circumstance. Issues like this one are not unusual, but it's important that digital businesses take necessary steps to reset their preventative strategies to see and resolve performance issues," he said.

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