Thousands of travelers around the world were left stuck on Wednesday as United Airlines grounded all of its flights due to a computer system malfunction. The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Traffic Control System Command Center confirmed that the airline had grounded flights at all U.S. airports, but a NBC News report reveals that flights were grounded at international airports too. Though United Airlines announced that flights were no longer grounded at around 10 a.m., flights worldwide are still expected to be affected throughout the day.
United Airlines issued a statement shortly after 9 a.m.:
We experienced a network connectivity issue this morning. We are working to resolve this and apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.
Earlier, the FAA said that the system malfunction was an "automation issue" without revealing any further details.
According to NBC News, about 3,500 flights have been grounded, which could impact as many as 235 domestic destinations and 138 international destinations. According to a spokesperson for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the technical issue is preventing tickets from being processed and therefore flights are unable to be monitored. Airports across the country have been experiencing system backups, including major international hubs like LAX, where airport police tweeted photos of congested terminals and passengers could be seen waiting outside the building on Wednesday morning.
This was the second time in just over a month that United Airlines has been forced to ground its flights after the airline experienced a similar system malfunction in June. During that incident, travelers were grounded for about an hour because of erroneous "dispatching information."
If you happen to be traveling today on a United flight and are currently stuck, here are 12 ways you can pass the time.
- If you can find airport WiFi, why not catch up on the last season (or seasons) of Game of Thrones — yes, you could be waiting for a while.
- Or for a more appropriate entertainment choice, stream The Terminal and fantasize about meeting a strange and mysterious foreigner in your terminal.
- If you're traveling with friends, play a people-watching game where you score points for unique features like soul patches and cat tattoos.
- Catch up on all your delinquent correspondences.
- Do static squats.
- Do squat pulses (if you're not too embarrassed).
- Do kegels (I'm doing them right now).
- Knit an entire sweater and gift it to whoever is hosting you.
- Start an airport food blog.
- Take advantage of the airport's spa and get a massage or a mani-pedi.
- Take advantage of the Hudson News and read all your favorite magazines without having to purchase them.
- Find a comfy spot on the carpeted floor and nap like it's going out of style.
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