British Airways has been accused of profiting from passengers trapped by the global IT crash who went on to pay huge sums for expensive upgrades just to reach their destinations.
Some passengers shelled out as much as £1,600 to complete their journeys with other airlines, and it has been suggested BA will not fully refund those customers should they claim a refund.
Other passengers paid the firm £800 to get hold of spare seats in ‘premium economy cabins’.
Meanwhile energy companies have denied BA claims that a ‘power surge’ was behind the system failure.
British Airways has been accused of profiting from the global IT crash chaos by ‘charging passengers expensive upgrades to complete journeys’
More than 300,000 people are believed to have been affected by delays and cancellations at Heathrow, pictured, since Saturday
It comes as the company said some 25,000 passengers had still not been able to travel after the system failure, which is thought to have affected more than 300,000 people over the weekend.
According to The Times, aviation consultant Alex Macheras said two women due to fly to Tel Aviv in Israel had their flights cancelled on Saturday and a replacement flight also shelved on Sunday.
Mr Macheras said the women were then given premium economy seats for a flight today on condition they paid £800 each for an upgrade.
The Times also reported BA told passengers ‘booking via different carriers would be at your own expense and would have to be claimed back through travel insurance’.
It is understood around 10 per cent of short-haul flights from Heathrow were cancelled yesterday with the airline unable to confirm a full schedule will operate today.
Energy companies have also rejected suggestions that a ‘power surge’ was to blame for the crash, as suggested by BA chief executive Alex Cruz.
Energy firm SSE, which supplies power to the company’s headquarters in Harmondsworth, said there was no recorded power surge on its side of the meter.
UK Power Networks, which supplies energy to Heathrow, also said it had seen no electrical issues.
BA chief executive Alex Cruz, pictured, has apologised for the chaos and blamed it on a ‘power surge’, which energy companies have since disputed
It comes as the airline has been hit by a lost luggage crisis with thousands of people who checked in their bags at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend before their flights were cancelled still desperately trying to find them.
The airline has admitted its website has been unable to cope with the number of people trying to post a lost luggage report.
Boss breaks cover to blame ‘power surge’
BA boss Alex Cruz finally emerged from the airline’s corporate bunker yesterday to offer ‘profuse apologies’ to customers.
For two days, the Spanish chief executive hid behind choreographed video statements and even issued an email to staff in an attempt to gag them.
Yesterday, he broke cover for a series of interviews, in which he claimed a ‘power surge’ was to blame for the IT crash. It comes after the 51-year-old, who joined BA in 2015, faced calls to resign.
Speaking to broadcasters, he blamed a power surge at a data centre near Heathrow for the problem. He also rejected claims the failure had anything to do with outsourcing the running of computer systems to India.
‘They’ve all been local issues around a local data centre who have been managed and fixed by local resources,’ he said.
‘We did have a power surge in one of our data centres which affected the network. It stopped the millions of messages that come between all the different systems … in the BA network. We will make a full investigation to find out exactly what happened.’
Some passengers are so angry with the company that they are planning to boycott British Airways from now on.
The crisis has been blamed on savage cost cutting by BA’s controversial Spanish boss, Alex Cruz, who has faced calls to resign.
Yesterday Mr Cruz, who insisted he intends to stay on, said only 75,000 had been affected by the crisis. But in fact, this is just the number who had flights cancelled, with BA admitting that ‘many more’ suffered delays.
Lost revenue, refunds and compensation mean the crisis will cost BA tens of millions of pounds.
The airline has also been criticised for charging customers up to 55p-per-minute to register compensation claims on a 0344 number – although it is also providing a free 0800 number too.
But it has faced accusations it is keeping customers in the dark about their legal rights to compensation.
Letters to passengers do not include any reference to the fact they are entitled to up to £524 per person as well as a refund.
However BA said it was ‘doing everything we can to help customers’, adding: ‘We will fully honour our obligations.’
Sky News presenter Jonathan Samuels tweeted BA saying ’48 hours with no luggage & no updates on phone number or website! … Any advice?’ and was advised to check the BA website.
David Ruthven, from Scotland, asked: ‘British Airways what are you doing about missing luggage? How many days will this take to find?’
After being referred to the website, he added: ‘Time for the whole management to stand down – not fit for purpose. Scandalous!’
Passengers are now facing a new crisis with the airline ‘struggling to cope with lost luggage reports’
BA advises people to register their bag as missing online on the basis it will be traced and couriered to them, but it seems the site cannot cope the demand.
A message reads: ‘We know that some customers are having issues creating a delayed bag report via our website. If this is happening to you then please call us.’
However the number it gives has been so busy people cannot get through.
And while operating hours for UK customers are 6am-8pm, this extends to 7.30am-11pm for Americans and 7am-11pm for those in France and Spain.
Beleaguered BA boss’s old airline left 8,000 passengers stranded
BA’s chief executive was previously in charge of an airline which later left 8,000 passengers stranded, with some suffering 12-hour delays.
Alex Cruz was in charge of budget airline Vueling, which last summer cancelled more than 40 flights at Barcelona’s El Prat airport.
The company blamed the delays on ‘operational problems’ at the time, but employees said ‘disastrous’ planning was behind the issues.
Alex Cruz was blamed for a similar failure at a previous airline he was in charge of
The man who took over from Cruz, who left to join BA before the incident, also said ‘planning’ had been behind the problem.
Married father-of-four Cruz was born in Bilbao, Spain before being educated in the US.
He has quickly risen through the airline industry after starting out at American Airlines in 1995.
In 2005, he joined Accenture as its head of aviation before founding Clickair, a Barcelona-based airline, the following year.
His company merged with Vueling in 2009, before being acquired by International Airline Group (IAG) in 2013.