Aashna Shroff, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, comments:

"It never rains but it pours for British Airways. After the airline managed to narrowly avoid its pilots going on strike this week, the last thing it needed was a global IT failure.

"British Airways' reputation has already taken a serious pounding this summer, and now it faces more woes from some very disgruntled customers.

"It may be scant consolation if your travel plans have already been affected, but thanks to EU regulation, you should be entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

"In the unfortunate event that your flight is cancelled, you will be entitled to: a full refund; or an alternative flight to your destination from a nearby airport, with the airline responsible for additional travel costs; or an alternative flight on a later date.

"If you experience a significant delay - whether flying from or to the UK - due to an airline IT outage, the airline is required to make your wait a comfortable one, including providing food and drink, phone calls, and even accommodation, if necessary.

"If you are delayed by more than five hours as a result of a fault lying with the airline, you have the right to cancel your journey and have the cost of your flight reimbursed.

"If you're flying later today and you're worried about possible flight delays or cancellations, I would advise travellers to check BA's website and to contact their travel providers for up-to-date information on the IT system issues. It is important to check this information before travelling to the airport to ensure you know the latest status of your scheduled flight.

Can I make a claim on my travel insurance or credit card?

"If you have travel insurance, check the policy terms and conditions as you may be able to claim for delays or cancellations to flights due to an IT issue out of your control.

"If you used a credit card and booked your flights directly with the airline, you may be able to claim a refund for delays or cancellations under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

"But the most important thing is not to cancel your flight or to book a replacement until you have confirmation on the status of your existing flight, or you might be left footing the bill for two tickets if your flight takes off as scheduled."