June 18, 2011- A computer problem caused United Airlines flights to be grounded across the country on Friday. The Chicago-based airline blamed a malfunction in the computer system on a network connectivity issue. The company resolved the problem through troubleshooting procedures and was able to restore the system by midnight Friday.
A waiver policy was issued by the airline permitting their customers on the affected flights to rebook or cancel their schedules without a penalty. The airline also apologized for any inconvenience or disruption that may have been caused and they were re-accommodating passengers where necessary.
The problem brought to a halt the processing of passengers, scheduling of departures, and reservations across the entire United States and left passengers stranded long periods of time in security lines, airport lobbies and in grounded planes.
Many passengers were already on board planes and ready for takeoff. The system caused all movement by United planes to stop therefore many of the passengers were stranded on the tarmac. One United plane was on the runway at O’Hare Airport in Chicago when they lost contact with the system. The plane taxied around the airport for close to an hour and then returned to the gate for more fuel but no passengers were allowed to leave the plane.
Long lines of passengers were seen at airports across the country and many sat around on the floor waiting for information.