A computer glitch in the systems of Delta Air Lines led to 150 domestic flights being canceled across the country along with numerous delays at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The company attributed the issue to an automation issue. More cancellations are expected in the days to come, with the company adding that not all delays and cancellations were being reflected in its systems, on the app, on airport information screens or through reservation agents.
According to Delta’s social media handle, flights began departing again as the glitch was resolved at around 11 P.M. However, over 25 flight delays and some entirely canceled flights left passengers in a limbo on Sunday.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian issued a statement expressing his apologies to all the stranded travelers who had been “impacted by this frustrating situation”.
“This type of disruption is not acceptable to the Delta family who prides itself on reliability and customer service. I also want to thank our employees who are working tirelessly to accommodate our customers,” Bastian added.
“Some customers are experiencing delays upon landing, particularly at Delta’s hub airports,” the airport announced. “Delta apologizes to customers for the inconvenience”.
It is noteworthy that Atlanta is Delta’s largest hub.
Social media reports showed flight disruptions at airports in Atlanta, New York City, Houston, Tucson, Austin, and some other U.S. cities.
Although the service resumed about an hour prior to midnight, the MSP website showed that five flights were canceled as of 11:30 P.M., with three still delayed.
The travelers were left waiting for hours with little information about the situation of the outage. After enraged passengers took to social media to express their displeasure over the delay, a representative on Delta’s official Twitter handle told them that the systems were down and that the company’s IT department was working to rectify the glitch. A company news release at about 8:45 P.M. assured the passengers that it was “expeditiously working to fix a systems outage that has resulted in departure delays” without pointing out the time it would take to resolve the issue.
MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan stressed the dependence of airlines on their computer reservation systems.
Systems outages have become increasingly common much to the chagrin of passengers. United Airlines had to ground its domestic flights for about an hour owing to a computer outage exactly a week prior to this incident. Just like in this case, international flights had remained unaffected.
This isn’t the first time passengers have been left red-faced by Delta flight cancellations. According to Associated Press reports, Delta Air Lines was in the thick of things last year in August, with over 2,000 of its flights canceled over three days after an identical glitch in the computer systems at its operations center.
U.S. officials issued a statement last Sunday saying that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was having bandwidth issues.
With an eye on disaster mitigation, Delta issued a waiver for flights scheduled on January 29 and January 30, whereby passengers have to rebook their travel by February 3. The airline also added that unaccompanied minors will not be allowed to board through noon ET on Monday, January 30.