Easyjet has denied speculation that its website fell victim to a cyber attack following a Europe-wide system failure yesterday.
The airline faces a big compensation bill after its system shut down from 1100 to around 2000, affecting hundreds of flights.
An Easyjet spokeswoman denied talk on Business Traveller’s forum that the carrier had been targeted by hackers. “It is one of those things that happens, it was just a systems failure,” she said. She declined to put a figure on how much compensation the carrier would be liable for, but added: “We will pay any compensation that is due under EU 261 rules to any of our passengers that needed to find hotel accommodation and out of pocket expenses will also be reimbursed.”
The crash highlighted the dependency that budget airlines have on customers checking in online, as they do not have enough staff at airports to cope when situations like this arise.
Staff were forced to check in bags manually and at Gatwick delays of around two hours were recorded with inbound aircraft having to queue to get onto stands that were occupied by flights unable to depart.
“We are 100% online check-in, but we did deploy extra resources at airports where we could,” said the Easyjet spokeswoman, adding: “We will adopt all lessons learned.”
Gatwick was most affected, with 142 outbound and 143 inbound services hit, but Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow were also subject to delays. However, the airline said there were only 24 cancellations in total.
A Gatwick spokesman said: “Due to an Easyjet technical issue across Europe yesterday, passengers were being manually checked in. Unfortunately this meant that the check-in process took longer than usual.”
He added that the situation was now back to normal.