As if Orlando International Airport’s very bad week wasn’t enough, passengers flying out of Gatwick Airport (LGW) had their own problems on Monday when a damaged cable caused every digital departure board in the north and south terminals to black out for a good part of the day.
We are sorry, but due to an IT issue our flight information is not displaying correctly. Please use the temporary flight boards in the departure lounges or listen for airline flight announcements. We are expecting to resolve the issue soon and apologise for the inconvenience.
— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) August 20, 2018
Well, they may have expected to resolve the issue soon, but in reality it took over TEN HOURS until the problem was fixed.
Because of the outage, airport employees were forced to work with walkie talkies, megaphones and whiteboards to alert passengers of changes to flight information. Passengers’ response to this, not surprisingly, varied.
Appalling @Gatwick_Airport with broken monitors and a tiny white-board for announcing gates. Thank goodness I have eagle-vision and can read messy writing from a distance. Why not pre-assign gates like Canadian airports? #laughable #typicalbritain #frustratedpassengers pic.twitter.com/uSKDWN8ooX
— Elizabeth Humphries (@lizmezzo) August 20, 2018
Photo via performer Elizabeth Humphries
Serious whiteboard based business continuity going on in Gatwick. All flight information screens down. Poor chap with a 2-way radio trying to keep it up to date with hundreds looking on. #gatwick #airport #businesscontinuity #crisis #london #outage https://t.co/sQJqd2htAf pic.twitter.com/r2n16Ur8J3
— Robin Blandford (@robinb) August 20, 2018
Photo via Robin Blandford, D4H
Unfortunately, passengers couldn’t check for departure information online either, as that was also affected by the outage.
A spokeswoman for the cable company told The Telegraph Monday morning: “Our engineers are working hard to fix the cable as quickly as possible. This is a top priority for us and we are very sorry for any problems caused by this issue. We are keeping Gatwick airport constantly informed of progress.”
To their credit, it sounds as if Gatwick employees did the best they could under the circumstances they were given, but not before several passengers missed their flights because they didn’t know gates had changed.
“My flight showed one gate, so I walked there where another flight was boarding.
“Walked back to the board…different gate. Flight not showing on my new gate. Very disconcerting!”
The problem was fixed about 10 hours after it begun. In a statement at 5:00pm BST, a Gatwick spokesperson said the issue had been resolved and flight information was being displayed normally. He said that “tens of thousands” of people departed on time and no flights were cancelled. Apologizing to customers, he added that the airport’s “manual contingency plan,” which included having extra staff on hand to help direct passengers, had worked well.
Tell that to Susan Smith 😕
* Feature photo via Twitter
** Many thanks to David P. for the heads up about this topic!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary