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United Airlines computer systems back up after leaving passengers stranded for five hours

AP Photo/Jason Redmond | BDN
AP Photo/Jason Redmond | BDN
Passengers wait at the United Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Friday, June 17, 2011. Thousands of flyers were stranded in airports across the country when United Airlines computers crashed grounding flights nationwide.
By Herbert G. McCann, The Associated Press

CHICAGO — United Airlines passengers across the United States were stranded after a computer crash grounded flights for hours Friday night.

The airline announced on Twitter shortly after 1 a.m. CDT (0600 GMT) Saturday that its computer systems were up and running, about five hours after the systems went down, stranding some passengers overnight or forcing long waits in crowded terminals.

The airline says a ‘network connectivity issue’ is to blame.

The airline says in a statement that it’s in the process of resuming normal operations on Saturday after the outage Friday night.

As a result of the outage, long lines of passengers formed at airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago.

The plans of landscape designer Stephanie Hochman, 26, of Denver, to fly to Wichita, Kansas, to visit her family were stymied.

“I was rushing, because I was running a little late,” she said. “I kept checking computers to see if the flight was still on time. I thought it was all good, until I got to the airport and saw the people standing around at the checkout counter.”

Later, staff at Denver International Airport made an announcement over the loudspeakers, saying computers were slowly coming online. A flight to Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport was being prepared for departure.

At United’s terminal at San Francisco Airport, well over 1,000 people were standing around as lines slowly began to move. Some took it better than others.

Pippa Davis, 50, of Christchurch, New Zealand, was on her way to Manchester, New Hampshire, with her 11-year-old daughter, Fritha. She said they recently had earthquakes at home, including one that damaged her house.

“I think this is kind of funny, really,” she said. “We’re in line, but it’s not for food or water.”

“It’s OK. We’ll survive,” Davis added.

The airline says in a statement that it’s in the process of resuming normal operations on Saturday following the outage Friday night.

United said flight operations will be affected throughout the weekend.


Associated Press writers John S. Marshall in San Francisco and Denise Petski in Los Angeles and photographers Rick Bower in Denver and Charles Arbogast in Chicago contributed to this report.


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