Business/Economy
4:51 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

UPDATE: AA Flyers Grounded, But With 'A High Degree Of Tolerance'

Update, 5:50 p.m. : Tuesday's computer glitch grounded American Airlines for several hours and put the plans of thousands of stranded travelers on hold. KERA's Bill Zeeble talked to a few of them ​at DFW Airport's terminal C. 

Monnie McGaffigan, flying home to California, was surprised a  computer problem could ground an entire airline.  "I’m in technology," she said.  I would have thought it would be backed up pretty well, so this is a big problem. "  But McGaffigan said after the deadly bombs in Boston, this delay wasn't all that bad.

"You know what, I think it would be frustrating but in light of what happened yesterday, there’s a pretty high degree of tolerance. "

Elizabeth Palacios stood reading a paperback book in line, not a tablet or computer book. Perhaps that was a hint of her attitude toward technology.

"I have no faith in computer systems so this doesn’t surprise me at all."

Palacios shared McGaffigan's attitude of tolerance. She returned to reading The Swallows of Kabul.

Update, 4:30 p.m.: American Airlines says its reservation systems have been fully restored. A computer glitch grounded all planes systemwide for much of the day. Dallas aviation consultant Denny Kelly says the airline had no choice but to shut things down until the system was back up.

Tom Parsons, with North Texas-based BestFares.com, says even with the system restored, it’ll take 24 to 48 hours to unwind the backup.  He says if there is a bright spot, it’s that the system went down on a weekday.

American says customers can rebook on another airline at the American ticket counter or online. American will honor the fare difference; no charge for reservation changes; and a full refund, if requested.

Kelly says American is not the first to see its reservation system go down. He says it’s happened to United three times and to Delta. American officials stress they see no evidence that the technical outage is related to yesterday’s bombings in Boston. 

Our original post:

American Airlines flights are basically grounded because of a computer failure. The problem appears to be with American's reservation system.

Airline officials say they are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime, flight delays are piling up nationwide.

At DFW Airport, Public Affairs manager David Magana says there are some sporadic American Airlines departures, but a larger number of delays because of the computer issues.

He says aircraft are lined up on ramps awaiting departure, and arriving planes are backed up waiting for gate space. DFW Airport has mobilized three large 90-passenger buses to help deplane passengers if American Airlines requests the assistance.

Passengers should expect significant delays, and call ahead.