Chicago-based United Airlines continues to recover from a massive computer failure this weekend. The system-wide computer outage lasted only five hours beginning Friday night into early Saturday morning. But that was enough to strand or delay thousands of United passengers.
United spokesman Charles Hobart said Sunday that nearly 40 flights were canceled with another hundred delayed. “The airline does not expect additional cancellations due to the computer outage and will continue to accommodate affected customers,” Hobart said in a written statement to WBEZ on Sunday. “The airline is returning to normal.”
A network connectivity issue is to blame for knocking out United’s ability to process passengers. The company provided few other details out the cause of the outage but ruled out computer hackers. United announced the outage on its Twitter page around 7:15 p.m. Friday. Shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, computers started to come on line, first announced at Denver International Airport.
At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, hundreds of passengers were still waiting to depart on later flights.
United passenger Rama-krishman Nara of Ottawa, Canada was delayed more than three hours. He had to settle for a 7 a.m. Saturday flight back home. “Initially they didn’t tell us anything actually. They kept on saying something but never told us about the wait,” Nara told WBEZ. “It was a nightmare.”
Another passenger, Michael Christopher of Boston boarded his plane more than 12 hours after he was supposed to. Christopher said delays of any sort are becoming all too common in the airline industry. “I’ve flown enough on all the major carriers, this sort of stuff happens on all of them now. United happen to be the one today where it happened to me.”
United apologized to customers. Meanwhile, United wasn’t the only airline to experience some computer malfunction this weekend. US Airways reported a three-hour computer systems outage affecting its Charlotte, N.C. hub. The Tempe, Arizona-based airline said the outage also affected a reservations center and training facility.