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United Airlines

New United Glitch Grounds Global Flights

New United Glitch Grounds Global Flights
Joe Cortez

Airline blames weight reporting system for stopping flights.

Another airline is recovering from a computer glitch Friday that caused the grounding of flights across the United States and around the world. Reuters reports that United Airlines grounded flights temporarily overnight on Thursday, October 13 due to a computer glitch.

United first acknowledged the problem in a statement on Twitter at 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time, claiming that they were aware of “an issue in our system,” and were working to fix it. On social media, flyers reported standing in lines for hours, while others claimed they were stuck on airplanes, which were unable to take off. At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), ABC News reports that United gate agents issued paper tickets to flyers and manually checked them in for flights.

By 3 a.m., United confirmed in another tweet that the situation had been resolved and flyers should be able to continue to their destinations. A spokesperson for the airline told ABC News the situation was related to an internal reporting system.

“We experienced an issue with our weight reporting system, which caused system wide flight delays,” read a statement from United provided to ABC News. “We have resolved the issue and are working to get customers to their destinations as soon as possible.”

A United spokesperson declined to provide the exact number of flights affected, instead telling ABC News that a “small number” of flights were delayed. According to data from at press time, 11 United flights were canceled on Friday, with 157 delayed. SkyWest Airlines, a contractor operating United Express flights for the Chicago-based carrier, reported 58 cancellations and 74 delays.

The glitch marks the third computer outage for an American airline this year and the second major outage for United since July 2015. In July 2016, a broken router at Southwest Airlines caused the cancellation of 1,000 flights. In August 2016, a computer failure at Delta Air Lines resulted in grounded flights, costing the airline over $150 million.

[Photo: United]

View Comments (2)


  1. Bosh

    October 14, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Myself and family were impacted by this trying to fly to Melbourne from LAX on the 13th. I think the point here is that these types of issues happen, and there should be contingency in place. The ground staff were completely out of their depth. They were trying to log the passengers with a pile of boarding passes which kept spilling over, with passes falling behind the desk. We were sat on the plane for over 2 hours, during which time passengers were coming and going (on and off the plane). At one point (a long time after the plane should have left), they checked a new passenger into the seat that my daughter was in. My question at this point would be, firstly , do they actually understand who is on the plane, and who isn’t, and secondly, why are they checking passengers in after the flight should have departed. Eventually, the cabin crew went out of hours, and there were calls to the unions to try and continue. What worried me about this was that the pilots didn’t go out of hours (obviously a less militant union), and the captain made an announcement telling us that we wouldn’t want to be flying with cabin crew who were tired (probably not the most tactful announcement).

    For the 2 hours we were on the tarmac, we weren’t even offered a glass of water (until passengers eventually started complaining loudly).

    When we were eventually cancelled, we were then invited to queue up for a long time to see a customer service rep, who told us that she couldn’t help, and we’d have to find our own accommodation (at 2am). We were also told that we may or may get some money back as compensation, but they couldn’t do anything.

    Just to completely rub salt into the wounds, the fight has been rescheduled to depart an hour after the same flight on Friday . Why could it not have gone earlier ?

    All in all, a complete shambles. United have been completely useless, and have completely neglected passengers. Would I fly with them again ? Not in a million years.

  2. FlyingWithers

    October 16, 2016 at 3:33 am

    OK. The airlines need to get IT right. For me, I am so done with UA. I have many other airline choices.

    It is not enough to do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required: Winston Churchill

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