United Airlines computer snag delays takeoffs

A computer failure is blamed for temporary grounding of flights, the Federal Aviation Administration confirms.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi

United Airlines was forced to temporarily ground all flights on Wednesday morning after experiencing a computer system failure, the Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed.

The outage took place between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. PDT on Wednesday.

"It was their system, not ours. It was their decision whether they would go up or not. They are now up and running," an FAA representative said.

A total of 24 domestic flights were canceled, and 268 domestic and international flights were delayed by an average of one and half hours, according to United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski Janikowski.

"We do not know the cause of the outage, and it's something that we will investigate. The computer outage affected the systems that United uses to dispatch flights for departure," Janikowski said in an e-mailed statement.

Flights could continue to be delayed as the airline recovers from the outage. United has posted a notice on its Web site recommending that people check the status of their flight(s) before heading to the airport.

"We continue to work hard to resume operations by tomorrow morning and kindly ask for our customers' patience," Janikowski said.