Lines snaked around the ticketing areas of McCarran International Airport for a couple of hours Thursday morning when a computer malfunction crashed the passenger processing program.
Sarah Miriam Dabbah, traveling with her husband and young child, waited for two hours, missed her 10:45 a.m. American Airlines flight home to New Jersey and found the lack of information frustrating.
“Our flight was scheduled to leave 10 minutes ago,” she said. “We didn’t get any straight answers and no one tells you anything.”
Dabbah was carrying her tired and unhappy child and was standing by a luggage cart towering with bags when her husband came over.
“We’ve got to get back in line,” he said angrily.
The passenger processing networks, used to check in passengers, was not working, causing airlines to manually check in travelers.
“We never saw a complete standstill,” airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said. “We were just operating at a lowered capacity.”
The computers were down between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and all systems were fully operational by 11 a.m., Crews said.
Some weary travelers didn’t mind the wait.
“I don’t mind it,” Alyson Gauthier, a 19-year-old who was flying home to Louisiana on a 1:35 p.m. Delta flight with her siblings and mother, said. “They just have a lot of people here.”
Gauthier waited about 45 minutes with her brother and sister in the main terminal lounge area while her parents stood in line and got the boarding passes.
A couple who never arrives early to the airport had a fortuitous accident when a lost wallet prompted them to arrive at the airport hours in advance.
Laura and Boomer Govsill were heading home on a 12:30 p.m. Allegiant flight to Boise, Idaho, after vacation, and found that if they had gone to the airport when they usually did, they would have missed their flight.
“Usually we get there 30 minutes before our flight,” Laura said.
Allegiant Airlines was affected for about four hours and experienced long lines and some flight delays, according to airline spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler.
Wheeler expressed that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
“A lot of our (morning) flights had already gotten out,” she said. “We had minimal flight delays.”
Different airlines have different levels of staffing, and wait times varied based on how many employees were available to process travelers’ information.
Once the system was running again, lines began to move faster and more efficiently.
“It’s pretty amazing that within a span of minutes ... it has cleared up this much,” Crews said shortly before 11 a.m.
The malfunction only affected outbound traffic, and people were urged to print their boarding passes at home to avoid the long lines, Crews said.
The computers at the parking garage were also affected by the glitch.
It is still unknown what caused the system malfunction, or how it affected travelers or flights.
Contact Rochel Leah Goldblatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381.