United Airlines is back up and running after a system outage hit the airline early in the morning. For just under an hour, the airline coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a ground stop as it worked out the issues. The airline’s operations are well into recovery mode.
United operations halted after a system outage
Early in the morning, just before 07:00 Eastern, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for all United Airlines flights, including operations under the carrier’s regional brand, at the airline’s request. It was a short ground stop of around an hour as United worked to resolve a technical issue.
United confirmed to Simple Flying that the issue has been resolved. By around 08:00 Eastern, United flights had taken off across the country, and operations started to recover. The airline is working on getting customers where they need to be as diligently as possible.
Often, the best response to a system outage is to pause operations temporarily and work to resolve the issue. In some cases, planes cannot depart when there is a system issue because some important flight planning and operations elements rely on computers.
Limited system impact so far
Across the United system, the impact appears to have been relatively limited. Data from 09:30 Eastern from FlightAware’s delay and cancellations tracker shows that only a handful of flights were canceled today, and only around 2% of flights were delayed.
There may be some residual impacts throughout the day. Customers should check with United on their flight status. As some inbound aircraft may have been delayed, it can lead to knock-on effects throughout the day.
The ground stop occurred early in the morning, before most of United’s hub banks, which was a benefit to operations. By the time the airline had worked out system operations, airports were just starting to get in the swing of things. Some early morning departures out of the East Coast were impacted, but overall, it was a very small percentage of United’s operations on Friday.
It does not appear that travelers this weekend should worry too much about their flights. United has already started getting its operations back up and running, and the impact should not be too long-lasting.
System outages in the industry
Technical issues and system outages do occur in the airline industry. The reasons behind them are varied, and they can have short-term and long-term impacts. The industry is highly dependent on computers and IT to run daily operations. These systems help keep bags moving, flights departing, and ticket counters operational.
Over the last few years, nearly every airline in the US has experienced a system outage in some way or another. Some system outages last just for an hour, like the one United faced today, while others have taken longer to recover from.
They can also be expensive. For example, in early August 2016, Delta faced a system outage that led to around 2,300 canceled flights over a three-day period. According to Delta, in 2016, the outage and subsequent recovery cost around $100 million.
Were you impacted by United’s system outage early this morning? Let us know in the comments!