All American Airlines flights have been grounded following a system-wide computer outage across the United States. The outage reportedly affects the airline's ability to connect to its reservation system, and has caused more than 700 flight cancellations so far. Many travelers could be screwed for the foreseeable future.
According to the airline's Twitter account all of its planes will be grounded until 4pm CT (5pm ET). (Update: AA has restored its systems, more info below.)
UPDATE: We are now in a system-wide ground delay until 4:00pm CT as we work to resolve this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience.— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) April 16, 2013
According to the air traffic tracking service FlightAware, the computer glitch has caused the cancellation of more than 400 American Airlines flights and more than 300 American Eagle flights. It's unclear whether that means they are outright cancelled or whether they've got no new scheduled departure time.
A bulk of the cancelled flights are for airplanes departing AA's hubs at Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago O'Hare airports. According to FlightAware, this accounts for a huge portion of the roughly 1000 cancellations so far today. And that number just keeps going up.
This image supposedly taken in Los Angeles appears to tell the story at airports across the country. Delays, crowds, and misery.
The American Airlines system has reportedly been experiencing issues since this morning, and according to some reports the company actually asked the FAA to ground flights. Here's the status message that currently appears ib the airline's website.
The airline first reported the problems to the public just after Noon.
Our reservation & booking tool Sabre is offline. We're working to resolve as quickly as we can. We apologize for any inconvenience.— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) April 16, 2013
According to FlightAware, many flights could be held much longer than that 5:00PM ET grounding. Flights heading to the nation's biggest airports are held into the evening.
Because it's only an error with the reservations system (called "Sabre") we wouldn't expect any problems with flights already in the air. ( See update below)
NY/NJ Port Authority, like American Airlines isn't associating the event with the FAA. Still trying to determine what's up with the FAA's involvement. The agency hasn't responded to our request for comment or posted anything on its news page or Twitter account.
American just tweeted that it'll make sure you're taken care of—eventually—but that it can't do much about any reservations scheduled for today. Vague!
UPDATE: We’re currently unable to modify today’s reservations. However, when able, we’ll offer refunds or update travel at no charge.— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) April 16, 2013
There are reports that AA has its computer operations are up and running, and that flight operations should resume within 45 minutes.
Here's the official statement from American Airlines. The crucial bit:
Our systems have been fully restored, however we expect continued flight delays and cancellations throughout the remainder of the day.
AA is offering several options to customers affected by the outage. Head over to the airline's post for more information about what you can do.
Nancy St. Pierre, a representative for Sabre Holdings contacted us and asked us to clarify that the issue was not with the reservation system, but, instead, with AA's ability to connect to it. Here's a tweet about that.