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Updated 12:39pm American Airlines says it’s back online but expects delays.
If you’ve got an American Airlines flight today, be prepared to wait. The company has grounded all of its flights after the computer systems that control its reservations went down.
“American’s network system is experiencing intermittent outages. At this time, we are holding all flights on the ground until later this afternoon, when we will provide another update,” said an American Airlines spokesperson in a statement sent to VentureBeat. “We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as we can, and we apologize to our customers for this inconvenience.”
After announcing the grounded flights today around 12pm Pacific time, the company tweeted nearly two hours later that it’s systems have been fully restored, but it expects that delays and cancellations will follow.
Wendy Nather, an analyst with 451 Research, currently stuck at an airport due to the grounding, explained to me that this is likely not the cause of a malicious attack.
“I’m actually sitting at DFW with thousands of my closest friends right now,” she told me in an email. “I do know that it’s not a hack; I know one of the people who is working to resolve the problem.”
The airline explained in a message on its website that flights will be grounded until at least 4:00pm Central Time. With its reservation system down, it wouldn’t be able to verify boarding passes.
What is causing the outage has yet to be explained. The company tweeted almost exactly an hour after it grounded all of its flights to say, “UPDATE: We’re currently unable to modify today’s reservations. However, when able, we’ll offer refunds or update travel at no charge.”
In the meantime, American Airlines is fielding questions on its Twitter account. Most of the answers direct people to call its reservation office later in the day or request that customers remain patient. The company also says that if your flight is delayed more than 90 minutes — which will likely be the case for many — and you don’t use your ticket, you can request a refund.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement sent to VentureBeat:
At the request of American Airlines, the FAA has put a ground stop in place for American flights nationwide. American Airlines requested the ground stops because of problems with its reservation system.
The FAA further suggests customers consult Flight Delay Information tool.
American Airlines image via Simon_sees/Flickr