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Heathrow Airport chaos after IT failure leaves passengers ‘stuck on planes’

Major issues have blighted Heathrow Airport overnight after a British Airways IT fault left passengers facing hours of delays.

Britain’s busiest airport said late Tuesday that the airline’s allocation systems meant travellers at Terminal 5 “may be impacted”.

Some passengers reported being stuck on planes for more than an hour after landing, while others faced long waits to collect baggage from the terminal.

In a statement on X, Heathrow Airport said: “We are supporting British Airways with a technical issue with their Allocation System.

“We advise passengers to check with BA before travelling to the airport. BA passengers in Terminals 5 may be impacted & are advised to contact BA for assistance. No other airline is impacted.”

Footage overnight showed lengthy queues of frustrated passengers waiting in the airport as they struggled to locate their luggage. Hundreds were also seen waiting outside BA’s baggage claim area and lining up at the customer assistance and arrivals desk.

Affected passengers were reportedly sent a text from BA reading: “We’re sorry to inform you that, due to a technical issue with our baggage allocation system at Heathrow, we can’t guarantee that your bags will have travelled with you on your flight today.”

The airline added that it had sent out emails to passengers with more information.

One passenger in a post on X described “total chaos” at the terminal where they said they were given “no information”.

“We waited one and a half hours for baggage and are now on our way home without bags. We have to claim and have them delivered. Information would have been good – noone [sic] to say what was happening.”

Another traveller, posting on X just before 8pm, said they had been waiting four hours and had still not been reunited with their luggage.

Heathrow Airport said in an update just after 7am that the IT issue had been resolved but delays are still expected this morning and British Airways passengers are advised to check with the airline before travelling to the airport today.

The airport said: “Earlier British Airways experienced a technical issue with their Allocation System, this has now been resolved.

“We advise passengers to check with BA before travelling to the airport as BA passengers in Terminal 5 may still be impacted. No other airline is impacted.”

A spokesperson for BA said: “We’ve apologised to those customers who were unable to travel with their luggage due to a temporary technical fault that was outside of our control.

“This issue has been resolved and we’ve brought in additional colleagues to support our teams in getting bags back to our customers as quickly as possible.”

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