American Airlines computer glitch grounds flights nationwide
American Airlines grounded flights across the country Tuesday due to a computer glitch. Thousands of American Airlines passengers were stranded, and flights will resume at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
¬†American¬†Airlines¬†grounded flights across the country Tuesday because of an outage of its main reservations system. Thousands of passengers were stranded at airports and on airplanes.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said¬†American¬†asked to halt its flights until 5 p.m. EDT.
"Any¬†American¬†plane sitting on the ground anywhere in the U.S." won't be taking off, said FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford.
Flight-tracking service FlightAware estimated that about 900 flights would be delayed if¬†American¬†resumed flying at 5 p.m., and the cascading effect would cause another 800 delays Tuesday evening because planes and crews wouldn't be where they were needed.
Customers couldn't make reservations or rebook if their flight was cancelled. Passengers described long airport lines and frustration at the lack of information from¬†airline¬†employees.
"Tensions are high. A lot of people are getting mad. I've seen several yelling at the¬†American¬†agents," said Julie Burch, a business-meeting speaker who was stuck at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport waiting for a flight to Denver. "Nobody can tell us anything."
Terry Anzur, a TV news consultant from Los Angeles who was also stranded at DFW, said¬†American¬†Airlines¬†gate employees were doing everything the old-fashioned, manual way because their computers were useless.
"No one at the counter can do anything. They can't check people in," Anzur said. "The¬†airline¬†is at a dead halt."
American's¬†problems on Tuesday were reminiscent of what United¬†Airlines¬†passengers endured on several days last year. United experienced computer glitches after combining its reservations system with that of Continental after the two¬†airlines¬†merged. On one day in August, 580 United flights were delayed and its website was shut down for two hours. Another outage in November delayed 636 flights.
As with the United meltdowns last year,¬†American¬†Airlines¬†passengers used social media to flood the¬†airline¬†with complaints.
"We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as we can, and we apologize to our customers for this inconvenience," said Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for the¬†airline.
Huguely said all flights would be held on the ground until Tuesday afternoon, when she promised the¬†airline¬†would provide an update.
The¬†airline¬†was offering free reservations changes and refunds for stranded passengers. But Huguely said¬†American¬†couldn't process those changes until the reservations system was fixed.