Easyjet systems failure causes travel chaos across Europe

Budget airline, Easyjet, experienced issues across much of Europe today as systems crashed causing travel chaos for thousands of passengers stranded in various airports.

London's Gatwick airport was a scene of total chaos as Easyjet staff struggled to process boarding passes for hundreds waiting at check-in points. Systems crashed at approximately 3PM GMT creating queues in their hundreds and frustrated passengers. According to eye witnesses, customers were left waiting without a word from Easyjet officials. The systems came back online at approximately 5PM whilst Easyjet staff began handing out boarding passes by hand.

London's Luton airport suffered the same issues as Gatwick. One flight, from Luton to Barcelona, began boarding late and passengers were asked to identify their bags before boarding, even checked bags. The flight was also over booked due to Easyjet staff handing out too many boarding passes. One passenger, Will Head - a writer based in London - commented "not enough seats for everyone now on the plane. Awkward." He also added the situation was "tense."

Neowin has asked Easyjet officials for comment on the issues and to confirm which systems failed but at the time of writing we have not received a response from the airline.

Update: An Easyjet employee, whose identity could not be immediately identified, confirmed the company is Windows Server based but that it was a network failure that created the issues. The individual couldn't comment further on the issues but stated it was a "horrible day for passengers and staff."

Update 2: Easyjet have now issued an official response to the issues:

"easyJet sincerely apologise for the disruption this afternoon, this was caused by a technical fault with our reservations system, which meant that passengers had to be checked-in for their flight manually.  We are currently investigating the fault, and therefore are not in a position to make further comment at this stage."

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24 Comments

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Airlines IT infrastructure is ultimately complex. There are much independed systems and components involved in communication. Any of them cab fail and make airline stop operating.
I`m a software developer, creating flight control and planning systems for airlines. If someone @ Neowin is interested in how airline business goes IT I can write a series of articles about flight planning, schedule management and schedule exchange, booking process and reservation systems, passenger registration and sales, etc.

Nikolay Kobzarev said,
Airlines IT infrastructure is ultimately complex. There are much independed systems and components involved in communication. Any of them cab fail and make airline stop operating.
I`m a software developer, creating flight control and planning systems for airlines. If someone @ Neowin is interested in how airline business goes IT I can write a series of articles about flight planning, schedule management and schedule exchange, booking process and reservation systems, passenger registration and sales, etc.

Give it a go fire away some articles I'm sure they'll do good :)

Digitalx said,

Give it a go fire away some articles I'm sure they'll do good :)


Well, I`ll start with global distribution systems for the first try. Since there is no reply from Neowin team, I`ll send it them with hope it will be reviewed. Also I`ll send a copy to Tom Waren, as an author of current article.

Edited by Nikolay Kobzarev, Feb 14 2010, 3:20pm :

Why east jet needs bigger planes then 737s none the less it is horrible when this happens, maybe once 787-3 is in business in a couple of years lol. IBM's datacenter which Air New Zealand out sources their services to crashed completely even generators were down a couple of months back. They really should invest in other areas to provide solid infrastructure over windows server though.

It's London Luton Airport, not London's. It about 30 miles away from London :)

Anyhow, I not supprised they don't have some sort of system in place to deal with this. they are crap enough when the system is working.

'which meant that passengers has to be checked-in for their flight manually' either HAD or have (if this was released while the issue was still occurring)...is that little thing about agreeing with the tense or, depending on the tense, the plural, cheap!

diabulos said,
'which meant that passengers has to be checked-in for their flight manually' either HAD or have (if this was released while the issue was still occurring)...is that little thing about agreeing with the tense or, depending on the tense, the plural, cheap!

That was their original quote. I've edited it though.

master2k27 said,
people don't seem to get it when they buy cheaply and it is rubbish or not what they wanted
The point though is that they are offering a service, for a cheap price, and not delivering. If you cannot provide the service advertised for the price advertised then there is still a case for complaint.

Simple as that.

Edited by BGM, Feb 13 2010, 8:30pm :

BGM said,
The point though is that they are offering a service, for a cheap price, and not delivering. If you cannot provide the service advertised for the price advertised then there is still a case for complaint.

Simple as that.

This is the catch, they say they will provide service for cheap but they do not guarantee it would happen lol. I guess its ok for teenagers and backpackers but for grown ups is inadequate since it will mess your plans...

Hungarian Salami said,
What do you expect from a cheap-ass airline carrier...
Last year I traveled to many major cities in Europe and I flew a few times with Easyjet. They were ok and I didn't have anything to complain about their service.

System failures are not common (fortunately) anymore, but they can happen to any airline. Prices or services have nothing to do with it.

Holy moly lucky me, last month i was looking at flights from Gatwick to Spain for this weekend but decided to put it off for a month. woop woop

Odd, I've certainly found easyJet to be one of the better budget airlines but it would seem they've proper screwed up today. Even the @easyjetcare twitter account which is usually pretty helpful has gone silent today of all days...

Fumma said,
Odd, I've certainly found easyJet to be one of the better budget airlines but it would seem they've proper screwed up today. Even the @easyjetcare twitter account which is usually pretty helpful has gone silent today of all days...

Sorry. Was playing WoW. I'll get back on that...

Northgrove said,
Ouch! "Please wait" is not exactly a message you wish to see for two hours on an airport. :p
Could have been the flash "loading circle of doom".