United Airlines was forced to hit pause on all of its flights across the U.S. and Canada early Friday morning due to an IT hiccup, the airliner said. Thankfully, it looks like the company’s got it under control: United confirmed in a statement to Gizmodo that whatever “technical system issues” that were impacting the company’s technical ops have “since been resolved.”
“All systems are now working normally and we are working diligently to get customers to their destinations,” a spokesperson said.
United customers in cities like Jacksonville and Denver were reporting that before 8 A.M. today, they were unable to check into or board their flights due to what’s known in airport parlance as a “ground stop,” or instruction from the air traffic controller to remain aground. The United Airlines app and website were also down, according to some frustrated fliers set to travel with the company.
The company wouldn’t answer Gizmodo’s questions about why it had chosen to leave its fliers stranded—albeit briefly—at some early hour of the morning. That said, we do know that the United team isn’t too cyber-savvy. An internal test conducted by the United cybersecurity team this past summer found that when faced when an obvious phishing email, a good 11% of the 78,000 employees and contractors surveyed would just... open it to see what was inside. Only 4.2%, the team said, would actually bother reporting it up the chain of command.
United—like its competitors in the airline space—has had its own cybersecurity snafus over the years. We also know that cyberattacks on airliners are happening at a more frequent clip than ever before. Even if the minor delays invoked by United’s IT systems earlier today weren’t security-related, we do know that the company’s had plenty of chances to beef up its cyber smarts over the years. If that internal test is any indication, it looks like at least some of those teams have dropped the ball, leaving all of us stuck on the ground with it.