5 times tech failed and we had to do things the old-fashioned way

After Gatwick Airport's digital flight board failure, we take a look at previous big IT blackouts.

The screen failure at Gatwick Airport earlier this week is proof that technology can’t always be depended upon.

A damaged fibre cable knocked the digital flight boards out of action across the airport on Monday, leaving staff with no choice but to resort to whiteboards.

Luckily, flights went ahead on time and without any cancellations, but not every big tech glitch has gone quite as smoothly.

Apple Store IT failure

(Philip Toscano/PA)

Back in March 2015, Apple suffered a DNS error that not only knocked out iTunes and its other online services, but also its ability to process payments in some of its stores.

Customers reported that workers in some UK Apple Stores had no choice but to use manual carbon copy credit card imprinters (watch the video below if you don’t know what they are).

NHS WannaCry

(Yui Mok/PA)

The NHS was affected by the global WannaCry cyber-attack in 2017, which locked some of its system files in ransomware encryption.

Unable to access vital systems, staff in several NHS wards were forced to go back to pen and paper, and even their own mobiles, as some telephone systems were taken out of action.

HSBC online banking

(Joe Giddens/PA)

Online banking systems suffer IT failure like any other company, but a cyber-attack targeting HSBC in 2016 took hold on its personal banking websites, resulting in customers being unable to log into their accounts – though no personal data was compromised.

The only way anyone could get account information was by using automated telephone banking instead.

British Airways IT glitch

British Airways
(Gareth Fuller/PA)

Worse than Gatwick Airport’s screen issue, British Airways suffered a global IT glitch that made it impossible for some passengers to check-in in 2016.

According to some delayed travellers, staff were writing out manual boarding passes from clipboards.

Visa payment failure

(Martin Keene/PA)

Visa’s widely-used payment system went down for some customers across the UK and Europe in June this year, meaning that many bank cards were being declined at the till.

As a result, people had to resort to using cash, if they were lucky enough to have some to hand of course.

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