Canadian Manufacturing

Delta Airlines grounds flights after ‘computer outage’

Pearson International Airport in Toronto and the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport are affected; Flights already in the air are operating normally



Updated 9:25 am, August 8, 2016

LONDON—Delta Air Lines has grounded flights and predicted widespread cancellations August 8, disrupting the travel plans of thousands of passengers including those in Canada, after a power outage hit its computer systems globally.

Pearson International Airport in Toronto and the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport were among many that were affected.

Confirmation of Monday’s troubles came in an official account that responds to customers via Twitter. The airline declined to immediately comment by phone and it was unclear whether all its flights were affected.

A company tweet to customers says a “computer outage that has affected flights scheduled for this morning.

It said “flights awaiting departure are currently delayed. Flights en route are operating normally.”

The company issued a statement apologizing for the inconvenience and said its teams were working to resolve the problem as soon as possible. The Atlanta-based carrier said the outage began at around 2:30 a.m. ET. Flights that were already en route were operating normally, but others were delayed or cancelled.

A check of the arrivals and departures system at Canada’s largest airport showed no Delta cancellations and only some delayed flights. Other flights had arrived on time or early. But Delta said that flight status systems, including airport screens, were incorrectly showing flights on time, something the company was trying address.

TV footage in the U.S. showed some boarding passes were being written out by hand.

Delta said its IT systems were down everywhere. Several applications were affected, including the company’s website.

Among those affected was Tanzie Bodeen, 22, an intern at a software company who lives in Beaverton, Ore. She had left for the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport at about 4 a.m. and learned about the delays only upon her arrival—when she found news crews gathered at the door.

“Delta didn’t really say anything,” she said.

Bodeen said that passengers have been taking the matter in stride. “It doesn’t seem really hostile yet,” she said.

People all over the world were affected. Stephen Smith, 32, of Baton Rouge, La., had been stuck on the ground for hours at Tokyo’s Narita airport on a flight that was supposed to go to Shanghai.

Smith took solace in the fact the air conditioning on the plane was working and said it seemed everyone on board was fine.

“Waiting game at this point,” he tweeted to The Associated Press.

The company said travellers will be entitled to a refund if the flight is cancelled or significantly delayed. Travellers on some routes can also make a one-time change to the ticket free of charge.

Computer outages have caused major headaches for airlines and travellers before. Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel more than 2,000 flights across the U.S. last month after technology problems prevented many travellers from checking in or boarding flights.

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