Bank holiday travel chaos as BA cancels flights and RAC issues warning – live

<p>British Airways has been forced to cancel scores of flights</p>

British Airways has been forced to cancel scores of flights

(Steve Parsons/PA Wire)

Thousands of people face having their bank holiday plans plunged into chaos, as British Airways was forced to cancel scores of flights following an IT failure.

At least 156 flights, mainly domestic and European, have been cancelled on Thursday and Friday, The Independent calculates, as BA struggles to operate without essential systems.

As many planes were fully booked at the start of the bank holiday weekend, the number of passengers affected is likely to top 25,000, with many more seriously delayed and encountering missed connections, on what was expected to be the busiest weekend since 2019.

Pointing to forecasts of above-average temperatures, motoring group RAC said it expected the bank holiday “to be a hectic period on major roads”, with drivers expected to make more than 19 million leisure trips over the last long weekend before August – the most since prior to the pandemic.

While analysts Inrix predict severe delays on the M25, M5, and M6, rail passengers face a bank holiday free of strike action, with very few major engineering works planned.

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RAC warns cost of living could see ‘more avoidable breakdowns’ on ‘hectic’ weekend

The RAC has warned that the cost of living crisis could result in more breakdowns on what it has said could be the busiest late May bank holiday weekend on Britain’s roads since before the pandemic.

“With so many households under the cosh financially, we’re concerned that a lack of essential maintenance might lead to more avoidable breakdowns than we’d normally see,” said RAC breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis.

“So we’re reminding everyone to ensure their cars are as a ready for a getaway as they can be – if a vehicle hasn’t been serviced recently, this is the week to get one done by a qualified professional.

He added: “Whether a car’s been serviced lately or not, a quick look at oil and coolant levels, together with checking tyres are in good condition and inflated properly, can go a long way to avoiding an unwelcome stop at the side of the road this weekend.”

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 10:20

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RAC issues warning to drivers over busiest late May bank holiday since 2019

Motoring group RAC has warned of a “hectic period on major roads” as drivers are expected to make more than 19 million leisure trips over the bank holiday weekend, which would amount to the most since 2019.

RAC breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “With the travel restrictions imposed during Covid now thankfully a distant memory, it’s clear drivers’ desire to getaway has been reignited with our figures for this coming weekend suggesting leisure traffic volumes will be close to what we last saw in 2019.

“With the Met Office currently predicting largely settled weather with above average temperatures, we’re expecting this to be a hectic period on major roads as people aim to make the most of the last long weekend before August – and that means it will be a busy time for our patrols too.”

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 10:12

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What has British Airways said about the cancellations?

British Airways has blamed the “knock-on effect of a technical issue” as it cancelled dozens more flights on Friday.

A spokesperson said: “While the vast majority of our flights continue to operate today, we have cancelled some of our short-haul flights from Heathrow due to the knock-on effect of a technical issue that we experienced yesterday.

“We’ve apologised to customers whose flights have been affected and offered them the option to rebook to an alternative flight with us or another carrier or request a refund.”

The airline is telling passengers: “We’re aware of a technical issue, which we have been working hard to fix. Due to high call volumes please only contact us if you’re due to travel in the next 48 hours.”

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 10:09

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British Airways cancels dozens more flights after IT failure

British Airways has cancelled dozens more flights following an IT failure on Thursday, what was supposed to be the busiest day for aviation since 2019, reports our travel correspondent Simon Calder.

The Independent calculates that at least 156 flights, mainly domestic and European, have been cancelled on Thursday and Friday as BA struggles to operate without essential systems.

In addition, 14 flights were delayed overnight and are expected to arrive during the late morning after delays of 12-16 hours.

With many planes fully booked at the start of the bank holiday weekend, the number of passengers affected is likely to top 25,000 – with many more seriously delayed and/or encountering missed connections.

Fifty-five outbound short-haul flights were grounded on Thursday afternoon and evening, with 21 inbound trips also grounded on Thursday.

Friday morning sees 36 inbound flights cancelled as a result of planes and pilots being in the wrong places on Thursday night. In addition, British Airways has grounded a fresh wave of 46 Friday flights, including to and from Athens, Warsaw, Reykjavik and Tirana.

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 10:08

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s bank holiday travel blog, which we’ll be using to bring you the latest updates.

Andy Gregory26 May 2023 10:01

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