United: computer glitch grounds U.S. planes

Von Ken Fielding/http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenfielding, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32293179
United Airbus A320-200/Image: Ken Fielding

A computer problem forced United Airlines (UAL.N) to ground all domestic flights for about an hour on Sunday evening, causing a cascade of delays and annoying customers throughout the United States.

The “ground halt”, which the unit of United Continental Holdings Inc disclosed in a tweet at 8:06 pm ET and lifted about an hour later, follows a series of problems at United and other airlines last year.

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Customers may change itineraries on their own

Frankfurt Airport/Image: Fraport

A few days before his flight home to Seattle from Tokyo in October, Bruce Ryan learned that a windstorm might disrupt air travel in the Pacific Northwest. Mr. Ryan and his wife didn’t want to risk getting stuck.

So he went to the Alaska Airlines website to find the cost of changing his tickets. “I expected the fare and change fees to end up around the cost of a whole new booking,” Mr. Ryan said. He was pleasantly surprised to find that Alaska Airlines had issued a “weather waiver” in advance of the possible storm. It allowed passengers flying in or out of the affected area to make no-cost changes to their itineraries on their own, without speaking to a representative. Continue reading “Customers may change itineraries on their own” »