American Airlines fixes computers, delays go on

DALLAS — American Airlines grounded all flights across the United States for several hours Tuesday after a key computer system crashed, causing thousands of passengers to be stranded at airports and on planes.

Flights in the air were allowed to continue to their destinations, but planes on the ground could not take off.

American, the fourth-largest carrier at McCarran International Airport, canceled three of its 28 departures there Tuesday: two to its Dallas-Fort Worth hub and one to Los Angeles.

However, delays running at least one hour and sometimes exceeding four hours were common throughout the day, according to American’s online status reports.

In some cases, the lateness grew after departure.

Flight 1884, for example, left the gate at McCarran four minutes early, at 9:31 a.m., but officially arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth one hour and 43 minutes late. It was not detailed whether the added time was on the ground or in the air.

The airline blamed its computerized reservation system, which is used for much more than booking flights.

Airlines use such systems to track passengers and bags, monitor who has boarded a plane, update flight schedules and gate assignments, and file flight plans.

The failure caused cascading delays and cancellations nationwide.

Review-Journal writer Tim O’Reiley contributed to this report.

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