Technology has made lives infinitely easier but at the same time, the vagaries of technology are often seen in rather cruel ways. Last weekend, around 75000 passengers were left stranded when British Airways (BA) lost all information in relation to the flights. It has now emerged that the outage was caused by a Human Error at the company's Data Center.

A perfectly avoidable human error

As they say, the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and that is the sort of thing that happened at the British Airways data center last weekend. Right after the disruption had crippled BA's operations over the weekend, there had been accusations that the airline had tried to cut costs significantly to its information technology infrastructure and that is what eventually led to the monumental outage.

The outage led to the cancellation of a total of 700 flights.

The disastrous turn of events forced BA to conduct an internal investigation and according to a report in the London-based The Times newspaper, the issue is most likely a human error. A member of the staff at the data center switched off the power at the establishment, that led to a loss of information for BA employees at airports and which eventually led to the cancellation of flights. Needless to say, such errors are not expected of an airline that serves so many people and was a perfectly avoidable one. It remains to be seen what remedial measures the airline goes for in order to avoid such disasters in the future.

Issues with IT infrastructure

It is important to point out that the date center is in fact equipped with an UPS (uninterruptible power supply) in order to guard against any power outage and according to the report in The Times, the UPS was in perfect working condition when the data went offline. It is unknown whether there has been any loss of data but the airline lost all information in relations to the flights, ticket details of passengers and luggage information, which created a nightmare not only for the 75000 passengers but also for the airline.

The airline has had to pay a total compensation of $193 million (converted to USD from £150 million) A source at BA had stated that the fault lies with a member of the staff or a contractor who had inadvertently killed the power at the data center. An employee at the airline had stated that IT infrastructure at the airline might not be up to the global standard and that BA had in fact laid off hundreds of employees in IT over the past few months.

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