British Airways passengers face Christmas flight hell as a ‘technical’ IT glitch prevents long-haul flights

British Airways passengers around the world have been stranded after a “technical” error caused long-haul flights to be delayed and canceled just days before Christmas.

The airline apologized Several planes across the United States and the Caribbean were grounded before takeoff Monday night, infuriating weary travelers including actress Elizabeth Hurley, who was told she would have to wait 20 hours for a flight.

Some reported being held on the tarmac for hours while cabin crew and pilots waited for flight schedules to take them to their destination. Photos showed people sleeping in the aisles of some planes.

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Passengers landing at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 also faced lengthy delays for their luggage, with EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt complaining that a friend had to wait days for their luggage to arrive.

Caught in the chaos, actress Liz Hurley tweeted that she would be waiting 20 hours for a flight

Caught in the chaos, actress Liz Hurley tweeted that she would be waiting 20 hours for a flight

Actor Adam Woodyatt expressed his frustration when a friend had to wait almost a week for his bags

Actor Adam Woodyatt expressed his frustration when a friend had to wait almost a week for his bags

British Airways passengers waiting for flights last night were left frustrated when a

British Airways passengers waiting for flights last night were left frustrated when a “technical” error grounded planes

Video showed hundreds of bags waiting to be returned to their owners at Heathrow's Terminal 5 last night

Video showed hundreds of bags waiting to be returned to their owners at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 last night

The technical problem caused massive delays on the UK’s flagship airline and stranded passengers, as at least nine long-haul flights to Heathrow were canceled last night and this morning.

Several other flights experienced long delays, including one from the US city of Philadelphia, which is expected to land more than five and a half hours behind schedule.

Angry passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustration, posting images of long queues and photos showing some people even sleeping in the aisles of planes while waiting for takeoff.

Among those caught up in the chaos was actress Elizabeth Hurley, who tweeted that she was “stranded at Antigua Airport” after her flight was “delayed by 20 hours.”

Others who tried to catch flights reported waiting on the tarmac at New York’s JFK airport for more than four hours.

Photos taken on a flight show people sleeping in the aisle during the long takeoff delay

Photos taken on a flight show people sleeping in the aisle during the long takeoff delay

Passengers took to social media to complain about the delays and cancellations of their flights

Passengers took to social media to complain about the delays and cancellations of their flights

Author Colin Dickey said on Twitter: “The captain of our British Airways flight just said their flight computers worldwide have been down for two hours and no BA aircraft can file a flight plan? Doesn’t seem optimal. Anyway, just chill and be cool on the pavement here at JFK.

He added: The British Airways system has now been down for 3 hours worldwide; Captain said the last time this happened (earlier this year, wtf) it took 2-3 hours for the system to come back online. (Put all of this here so other stranded folks can find it if it’s helpful to them).

He later tweeted that the airline “borrowed” a flight computer from Lufthansa and that his flight took off more than four hours after it was scheduled to take off.

Other passengers reported delays across North America on flights scheduled to depart from places like Toronto, Miami and Denver. Some looked back desperately at their planes, which were stuck on the tarmac.

Author Colin Dickey tweeted about his hours-long ordeal while waiting for his flight to depart from JFK

Author Colin Dickey tweeted about his hours-long ordeal while waiting for his flight to depart from JFK

There were also delays for passengers arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 last night from inside the terminal you can see hundreds of suitcases piled high in the baggage claim hall.

Lorna Bryant, who arrived at the airport last night, told MailOnline the situation was a “nightmare”.

She said there were “hundreds, if not thousands, of suitcases left in a heap unattended, waiting for staff to load them onto the conveyor belts.”

“We have just been informed that baggage delays of more than 90 minutes are expected,” she said.

“We also had delays in landing. The pilot explained that no staff was willing to help them park the plane. There are also no shuttle buses ready to take us to the terminal.«

She added that there seemed to be “absolutely no staff” and that “the pilot even suggested we leave a bad review because they are fed up with the delays every time they land at Heathrow”.

Video captured in Terminal 5 last night shows hundreds of bags piled up at baggage claim

Video captured in Terminal 5 last night shows hundreds of bags piled up at baggage claim

Passengers were seen waiting desperately, being stuck on their luggage for more than an hour

Passengers were seen waiting desperately, being stuck on their luggage for more than an hour

Actress Charlotte Kennedy said she had to wait almost a week for her luggage to arrive after her bag was lost at Heathrow.

She tweeted: “Hiya British Airways, me again, I understand Heathrow is in a shambles at the moment but my bag is still there. It’s been almost a week and there’s no indication when it will arrive in Edinburgh. Patience is running out and my clothes are running out lol if you don’t laugh you will cry.’

EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt also hit out at the airline to support his friends, writing: “C’mon British Airways a day or two is bad enough but a week is more than a joke.”

In a statement, BA said: “Our flights scheduled to depart from the US tonight are currently being delayed due to a technical issue with our third-party flight scheduling provider, which we are urgently investigating.

“We apologize for any disruption to our customers’ plans, our goal is to get these flights departing as soon as possible.”

“It’s not a security issue. We keep our customers informed and provide them with refreshments,” the airline added.

A statement released later in the night said: “Our teams have now fixed a temporary issue affecting some of our long-haul flight planning systems overnight, causing delays to our schedule.

“We apologize for the disruption to our customers’ travel plans.”

BA was contacted for comment on the delays at Terminal 5.

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