Network glitch grounds United Airlines flights

How dependent are we on technology in this world? Apparently the answer is “completely” in the world of the airlines. Late last night United Airlines was forced to ground their planes due to “a network connectivity issue,” and the Associated Press is reporting that the outage lasted roughly five hours with services starting to be restored after midnight.

United Airlines has yet to disclose the scope of the outage, but over 2,500 passengers were affected at Los Angeles International Airport. According to one passenger there were no flights listed on any of the monitors and despite hundreds of kiosks not one of them was working. The most common complaint, however, seems to be the lack of communication. While anyone can understand that computer systems can occasionally fail, it’s how a company handles the aftermath that separates it from the competitors. Unfortunately for United Airlines, it seems that their employees were left in the dark as well since passengers were waiting hours for bags that never showed up and nobody knew what to do. One of the passengers was quoted as saying, “"Some people were sleeping and some people were getting very angry because no one was giving us any answers.”

A more detailed report of the network error will probably not be disclosed to the press.

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9 Comments

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They should train people to handle situations like this, you should never leave the customer in the believe that you have no idea what is going on or you do not have the control over the situation. I'm surprised it didn't start a panic attack with 2.500 people not knowing what is going on, just imagine someone screaming there the word "BOMB"...

I agree that manual processing is next to impossible nowadays. trying to do things manually could cause more problems than solve. What companies do is rate systems on how important they are and build redundancy where warranted. you would think customer processing would get the most attention, but I suppose even redundant systems fail sometimes. They didn't handle it well. the company should have had a policy of what to tell customers.

Although manual would be nice it would be pretty darned impossible to process 2500 people without computers.

Imagnine trying to separate their luggage in the baggage control? Or all the security checks. It's pretty hard to read a passports security secs without the database to compare.

Unfortuantely Unfortunately we have to rely on such a system. The good thing is its designed not to fail. This is one of the first full failures I have seen, now that the failure has been recognized the developers can work to fix it. Therefore preventing it from happening in the fututure

Simon- said,
You would think that they have manual processing procedures, but no.

LOL not surprising. Many of the companies I have tried to automate have completely abandoned manual procedures. When network or system issues like this arrive, their manual procedures are usually to "tough it out" until the system is back online.