American Airlines Back On Schedule After Glitch Grounds Nearly 1,000 Flights

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American Airlines was forced to ground all flights across the US for several hours after a key computer system failed, causing thousands of passengers to be stranded at airports and on planes.

On Tuesday, American and sister airline American Eagle canceled 970 flights and delayed at least 1,068 more by early evening, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.com.

Flights en route continued to their destinations but planes on the ground were not allowed to take off.

The airline blamed its computerised reservation system, which is used to track passengers and bags, monitor boarded passengers, update flight schedules and gate assignments and file flight plans.

The outage, which began in midmorning, was fixed by 2130 GMT, airline spokeswoman Stacey Frantz said.

“Flights have resumed, but we expect cancellations and delays throughout the remainder of the day,” the carrier said in a statement.

Travellers whose flights were cancelled complained that they were not able to rebook on a later flight.

“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.

American’s system is hosted by Sabre Holdings, a one-time division of American that was spun off into a separate travel-reservations technology company. American said the outage wasn’t Sabre’s fault, and other airlines that use Sabre didn’t experience problems.

By late afternoon, American resumed international flights and those from its major hub airports.

“Despite the magnitude of today’s disruption, we are pleased to report that we expect our operation to run normally with only a small number of flight cancellations” on Wednesday, said Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for American. She said American would add flights to accommodate stranded passengers.

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