IT Glitches Cause United to Halt Domestic Flights
United Continental Holdings Inc. halted flights to U.S. destinations because of a computer issue, in the latest example of a system fault leading to travel disruptions at a U.S. airline.
“We have issued a ground stop for all domestic mainline flights due to an IT issue,” Maddie King, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based carrier, said in an e-mailed statement. “We are working as quickly as possible to resolve this issue and get out customers to their final destinations. We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers.”
The third-biggest U.S. carrier didn’t say how many flights were affected or when a solution might be found. A ground stop means flights aren’t allowed to depart.
A rash of computer failures disrupted flight operations at U.S. airlines last year, stranding thousands of passengers as carriers struggled to keep older information systems working. Delta Air Lines Inc. took a $100 million hit to sales after a power-control module at the company’s Atlanta command center caught fire in August, cutting power to computers. Southwest Airlines Co. had to halt flights the month before that because of issues with “multiple technology systems.”
At United, a 2015 computer issue prevented the carrier from ticketing passengers and dispatching crews, disrupting travel for thousands of fliers.
The ground stop applies only to United’s mainline flights serving domestic destinations, the FAA said in a statement on its website.
The domestic market accounts for about 60 percent of United’s sales, according to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence. The carrier serves more than 200 domestic airports with major hubs in Chicago, Houston, Washington and San Francisco, according to the company’s website. United has about 4,500 departures throughout its global network.
Ground stops are relatively common reactions to thunderstorms and other disruptions in the U.S. aviation system. They are typically short-lived and narrowly drawn, such as halting departures to a congested airport for an hour or two.