Travel: Heathrow delays

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Passengers travelling to India were stranded at London's Heathrow airport for 48 hours because their Air India flights were heavily overbooked.

The airline blamed a "glitch in the system" for too many tickets being sold for the flights, and 62 passengers having to stay at a hotel.

The problem began on Friday when travellers arrived at Heathrow with confirmed tickets for the flight to Bombay to discover there were not enough seats on the plane.

Ticketholders stayed at a hotel with the promise of flight on Saturday. But that too was overbooked and the problem worsened when the same scene was replayed yesterday with more travellers joining the list of the stranded.

One woman failed to get to her daughter's wedding today despite trying to board a flight with her scheduled ticket for three successive days. Others had their plans badly disrupted as onward connecting flights were missed.

An Air India official said the stranded passengers would be put on a flight today: "We do have problems at Christmas, but this was an unfortunate situation ... We have apologised to the passengers".