Failure of American Airlines reservations system grounds all flights

The computer system went down earlier today, leaving thousands stranded for hours. The airline reports that the system is now back up but it expects further delays and cancellations.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
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A major computer fail at American Airlines brought down the company's reservations system, leaving passengers stranded for several hours.

The systemwide delay, which started this morning, grounded all flights for several hours, according to the airline's tweets. The airline added that reservations could also not be modified until the system was back up.

American Airlines said the system was "fully restored" in an update on its Facebook page shortly after 1:30 p.m. PT:

Our systems have been fully restored, however we expect continued flight delays and cancellations throughout the remainder of the day. We have made several options available to our customers:

If customers must travel today and are already at the airport, they can rebook on another airline by visiting an American Airlines agent or by going to the other airline's ticket counter with their electronic ticket number.

If customers must travel today and are not yet at the airport, they can rebook through American Airlines reservations or through another carrier and American will honor the fare difference.

If a customer chooses not to travel today, there will be no charge for reservation changes or a full refund will be provided.

The airline's apologies didn't do much for flyers stuck in airports with nothing to do but tweet about how unhappy they are.

American Airlines runs more than 3,300 flights daily, and today's delays are potentially affecting more than 100,000 people, CNBC reported.

It's unclear why the computers went down in the first place and if this will affect future flights. We've contacted American Airlines for comment and will update when we hear back.

The company initially pointed to its reservation tool, Sabre:

But Sabre responded with its own tweet, "All Sabre systems are up and running -- no issues here," prompting American Airlines to issue an apology an hour later:

Airlines have grounded flights previously due to computer system glitches. American Airline competitor United Airlines has had several similar incidents in the last several years, including a two-hour outage in 2007 that grounded several hundred flights, and another one in November of last year that delayed flights for up to two hours.

Update, 2:11 p.m. PT: Updated with more information. American Airlines has restored its system but delays and cancellations are still expected.