Video: Computer glitch strands thousands of airline passengers

  1. Closed captioning of: Computer glitch strands thousands of airline passengers

    >> start with the national computer outage that left thousands of travelers stranded and it's continuing to cause disruptions at major airports from coast to coast . nbc's tom costello is in washington to tell us more about it. tom, good morning.

    >> hi, lester. for those folks who are just starting their summer vacation, maybe last night, it was off to a rough start. it all began around 7:00 p.m . central time , 8:00 on the east coast . united says its flight departures, airport processing and reservation systems, even its website, were affected for about five hours overnight. that helicopter cup dreads of flights and thousands of passengers nationwide from departing on time overnight. not good timing given the father's day weekend. thousands of passengers were waiting in line at airports across the country and most especially at united 's key cities including chicago, denver, l.a.x. and washington dulles and san francisco . passengers ended up spending the night at airports or they found hotel rooms in cities where they were stranded. some spent the night on the airport floor. united has apologized for the glitch and interruption and has issued a waiver permitting any customers on affected flights to cancel or rebook their itineraries without penalty. by midnight central time , 1:00 on the east coast , united said its computers were back up and running and issued the following statement. it says united apologizes for the disruption caused to travelers at affected airports, and is reaccommodating travelers where necessary. united blames the problem on a network connectivity issue but says the systems are up and running this morning. and lester, one piece of advice they say, if you plan to travel today, print your ticket at home, it will expedite things at the airport.

    >> and tom as you know, planes these days are full as it is. so how long will it take passengers to get to where they're going?

    >> united isn't saying. in fact they're not even saying exactly how many flights were affected. but it is safe to say that when you get planes out of position like this, the ripple effects can take, in a best-case scenario, 24 hours . in a worst-case scenario, even longer than that, depending on how full the flights are. they're going to be working double-time today to try to catch up, and it's likely some people will be affected throughout the weekend.

    >> we've seen that after big, big storms in the past. thanks, tom costello appreciate it.

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