Skip to content

Fueling system glitch at Heathrow disrupts flights this weekend

July 03, 2022
5 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Technical issues at some major European airports have only added to what has been a chaotic situation for passengers in recent months. The most recent problems happened Saturday at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), when a problem with the airport’s fueling system led to a slew of flight disruptions.

The glitch at Heathrow came a day after the Associated Press reported a snag with the baggage system at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) that caused more than 1,000 passengers to end up flying out without their luggage.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

These are just the latest obstacles in what has been a months-long series of challenges at airports across Europe. From chaos at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to Dublin and airports in the United Kingdom, travelers have faced everything from extremely long waits at security checkpoints to messy baggage situations.

It’s the latest reminder for passengers to head to the airport with patience as they navigate travel in Europe this summer, as U.S. airlines simultaneously face operational challenges while the travel industry works to meet surging demand after two-plus years of the pandemic.

Fueling system issue at Heathrow

Saturday’s fueling system issues at Heathrow stemmed from what airport officials say was a technical issue, which led to engineers closing the system down for an hour to address the problem. The airport worked to "minimize disruption," Heathrow officials told TPG, but noted that the interruption to aircraft fueling would likely cause delays.

As of Saturday evening in London, data from FlightAware showed 43% of departing flights from Heathrow had been delayed, along with around a third of incoming flights. Airport officials were not able to share details on what led to the problem but did note that the fuel issue was resolved by Saturday evening.

Mounting problems at European airports

Even as crews worked to solve the fuel issue at Heathrow on Saturday, the United Kingdom airport was far from the only one in Europe experiencing operational challenges. On top of the luggage system issue at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, travelers also had to contend with the latest demonstration from workers in recent days.

Airport employees gather outside a terminal as they stage a strike at Charles de Gaulle Airport on July 1. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP) (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

The airport saw more than half of its departing flights delayed Saturday, though Paris airport officials noted they expected air traffic from both de Gaulle and Orly (ORY) airports to be back to normal on Sunday.

Meanwhile, passengers at Frankfurt Airport in Germany shared images on social media of luggage lined up in the terminal and extremely long lines.

Frankfurt Airport warned on social media about longer wait times “due to high passenger numbers.”

It’s a series of disruptions during a summer that includes numerous strikes across Europe, and some airports putting caps on passenger traffic in an effort to ease congestion.

A line of passengers in the departure hall during a strike by airport workers at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Saturday, July 2. (Photo by Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

If you’re planning to travel through European airports this summer, be sure to follow the airline you are flying with and each airport you’ll be visiting on social media ahead of your trip so you can start getting a sense of how early you’ll need to arrive and what unexpected circumstances you might encounter along the way.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases