MIAMI – Amadeus Altea, a passenger process software used by 125 airlines around the world, experienced a “check-in system crash,” affecting check-in and booking procedures in at least 8 airports today:

  • Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) in London.
  • Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in Paris.
  • Zurich (ZRH) in Switzerland.
  • Melbourne (MEL) in Australia. 
  • Johannesburg (JNB) in South Africa.
  • Changi (SIN) in Singapore.
  • And Washington DC’s Reagan (DCA).

Amadeus Altea has confirmed the IT glitch as a ‘network issue’. It affected some on-line check-in processes also and caused minor delays at DCA.

The software company released a statement earlier today:

Amadeus can confirm that our systems are recovered and are now functioning normally. During the morning, we experienced a network issue that caused disruption to some of our systems. As a result of the incident, customers experienced disruption of certain services. Our technical teams took immediate action to identify the cause of the issue and mitigate against the impact on customers. Amadeus regrets any inconvenience caused to customers.

Even though the check-in systems were recovered and the crash lasted a few minutes in some airports, AirHelp, a flight delay compensation company, warned passengers of possible flight cancellations and issues with luggage handling. Compensation for flight cancellations “could be entitled to up to £510,” said the company.

Following the news of Amadeus Altea check-in software crash, passengers worldwide could miss their holidays, lose their luggage or even be left stranded in the airport. Depending on the situation, an IT glitch might not be regarded as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, so if your flight is delayed or cancelled you could be entitled to up to £510 in compensation.

In addition to this, the airline should provide you with meals, refreshments, access to phone calls and emails and if necessary, overnight accommodation. Amadeus Altea services 64 per cent of the Star Alliance, 75 per cent of One World and 53 per cent of the Sky Team, which means the issues with the software could affect over 120 airlines, including BA, AirFrance, KLM and Lufthansa.

Various airlines remained affected after Amadeus Altea announced its systems were recovered. British Airways (BA) couldn’t access bookings, KLM (KL) said they still faced major IT issues on their Amsterdam hub, and Swiss Air Lines (LX) said some of its flights were delayed.

However, other carriers didn’t face major issues and experienced slight delays for a few minutes. Reportedly, Lufthansa (LH) and its partner airlines suffered as their systems crashed for at least 30 minutes. Groupe ADP spokesman from Paris said, “it only lasted a few minutes,” and even though their flag carrier, Air France, uses Amadeus, there were no major problems with the French carrier.

A spokesman from DCA reported minor delays on Southwest flights after 16 minutes of the IT hiccup. Gatwick described the issue as a “momentary IT glitch” with no delays after a 15-minute crash. And LHR reported intermittent problems that caused passengers process “longer than usual.”

From 125 airlines that have Amadeus Altea software, 10 are from OneWorld and 18 from Star Alliance. According to aviation analyst, Alex Macheras, 108 carriers use it as their Departure Control System.

Recently, British Airways had a three-day IT meltdown that affected their customers on Memorial Weekend holiday – a glitch that left 75,000 passengers stranded over the holiday weekend. Over £100m in compensation was paid by the carrier to affected passengers, not taking into account the damage to the airline’s reputation.

In 2016, the airline industry faced numerous IT meltdowns, among which the most prominent was the complete shutdown of Delta (DL), in addition to network disruptions of Southwest and United.

“There have been failures before, small glitches,” Macheras said. “But to have it on a global scale is very unusual.”