Monday, January 30, 2017

Delta Air Lines Cancelled More Flights Monday: IT system outages Sunday night caused 170 cancellations, many delays

The Wall Street Journal
By DOUG CAMERON and  SUSAN CAREY
January 30, 2017 7:58 a.m. ET


Delta Air Lines Inc., which said its essential information technology systems were restored after midnight Sunday following an outage of more than five hours, said early Monday that its operations were recovering but it scrubbed 110 flights Monday and warned that further cancellations are possible.

The nation’s No. 2 airline by traffic said it canceled about 170 flights Sunday, and apologized to customers for the fact that not all of those cancellations were reflected on its website, mobile app, on airport information screens and with its reservations agents. It also said some passengers were experiencing delays upon landing, particularly at its hub airports.

The problems forced agents to check in passengers manually and left some arriving aircraft stuck on the tarmac for hours, according to passenger reports.

Delta said it is offering passengers refunds if their flights were cancelled or delayed more than 90 minutes. It also said customers who were booked to fly Sunday or Monday can change their travel through Friday without incurring a change fee.

The Federal Aviation Administration earlier said Delta asked it to freeze departures at six airports for several hours, including its big hubs in Atlanta, Minneapolis and Detroit, as well as at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in New York and Los Angeles International Airport. The so-called ground stop was later lifted around midnight, but the effects are expected to cascade Monday because planes and crews are out of position

Atlanta-based Delta suffered a major IT breakdown last year that forced it to cancel more than 2,000 flights over several days, after a part broke, triggering a power surge and a small fire in its data room. That forced the carrier to reboot its entire system, a multi-hour process. An investigation afterward revealed that portions of its system weren’t hooked up to backup power sources.

Southwest Airlines Co. had a similar meltdown last summer caused by the failure of a single router. Delta’s Sunday problems come a week after United Continental Holdings Inc. suffered technical issues that forced it to suspend flights for hours after problems with a system that sends information to pilots in the cockpit, including aircraft weight calculations.

The Sunday outage occurred in the midst of large demonstrations at many airports across the country in opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order Friday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. That led to immediate detention of some passengers arriving at large U.S. airports and even some deportations back to the country of origin.

Massive protests occurred Saturday and Sunday at airports in New York, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles and near Washington, D.C.

At LAX Sunday night, the combination of protesters and the Delta computer outage created temporary gridlock inside and outside of the airport. Between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., access roads were jammed with drivers taking up to two hours to travel a mile or less.

Hundreds of travelers scrambled out of vehicles and ran on the sides of roadways or on sidewalks to try to catch their flights. Coming in the other direction were protesters toting signs who were leaving the airport. At one point, dozens of protesters laid down across the main roadways in front of the Tom Bradley International Airport, completely blocking traffic. At another entrance, hundreds of signs left by protesters were attached to a chain-link fence.

Inside the Delta ticketing area lines of passengers waiting to check in stretched outdoors. Some kiosks had lines of more than 100 fliers, some of whom said they had waited for more than an hour without advancing much.

—Andy Pasztor contributed to this article.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.wsj.com

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