All United Airlines flights are currently grounded, and the Federal Aviation Administration is blaming “automation issues” for the travel nightmare.
United told its employees it was experiencing a “network connectivity issue” but did not elaborate. According to Denver International Airport, it appears the check-in system has failed. Airport officials and frustrated passengers have already started tweeting about the impending airport bottleneck.
United hasn’t officially responded, and its customer service-oriented Twitter account has responded to just one of the many complaints and questions flooding in with a non-answer:
The FAA advisory didn’t get more specific than “user request automation issues” for the widespread grounding. This is the second time this summer United has experienced a technical issue resulting in grounded flights. On June 2, a similar incident occurred.
No word yet on what caused the check-in system failure, or if “user requested automation issues” means there’s more at play than just a screwy check-in system. I’ve asked United what the cause of this issue is, and whether the company has ruled out a cyberattack. I’ll update when I learn more.
Update 9:42 am: Some passengers are reporting that systems are back online.
Update 10:07 am: “We experienced a network connectivity issue this morning. We are working to resolve this and apologize to our customers for any inconvenience,” a United spokesperson told Gizmodo, not at all clearing anything up.
Update 10:45 am: The FAA lifted the grounding ban at 10 am.
Update 11:07 am: A United spokesperson confirmed that flights are restored. The company is issuing waivers to customers to change their flight plans.
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