(USA TODAY) -- American Airlines says it has resolved a computer glitch that forced
it to ground all of its flights for several hours this afternoon (April
The carrier says it will re-start its flight schedule
beginning at 5 p.m. ET, but warned "we expect continued flight delays
and cancellations throughout the remainder of the day.
Tampa International Airport: Look Up Your Flight
More than 730 flights on American and regional affiliate American Eagle had been canceled as of 4:15 p.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. An additional 738 American flights were delayed today because of the glitch.
is a major outage for American and is the longest flight disruption as a
result of a failure of an airline's back-end technology in recent
history," FlightAware CEO Daniel Baker says to Today in the Sky. "It is
likely to affect over 125,000 travelers today and tomorrow. United had a
few similar outages last year, some as a result of the
Continental/United merger and related technology fallout, but none were
nearly as long as this" problem, which lasted more than 5 hours.
says most of the AA's delays and cancellations have come on flights to
or from AA's main hub at Dallas/Fort Worth, though Chicago O'Hare, Miami
and New York LaGuardia had also seen significant problems.
once flights resume, Baker estimated that about 800 additional American
and American Eagle flights "will be indirectly impacted by planes and
crews out of place."
At American, the airline encouraged fliers with flexible schedules to put off travel.
your travel plans are flexible, there will be no charge if you would
like to change your reservation and we will provide full refunds if your
travel plans are not flexible," Huguely said in the statement to Today
in the Sky.
As for American's claim that systems are coming back online, a Dallas/Fort Worth passenger appears to corroborate that story to The Dallas Morning News. The newspaper writes at 4:17 p.m. that the passenger called the newspaper to say that the gate agents for his AA flight to Monterrey, Mexico, have announced the boarding of the flight
and that the flights' pilots have boarded the jet. The reader says
passengers are lining up to present their boarding passes to gate
In the meantime, reports and photos
of long lines at American's check-in counters were streaming in from
across the country via both social media and traditional news outlets.
At American's hub in Miami, The Miami Herald reports that landing AA flights have run out of available gates since none of the airline's departures are taking off.
A passenger on one of those flights -- 66-year-old Richard Bell -- tells the Herald
he had been stuck on an AA flight arriving from Baltimore. He told the
newspaper that the aircraft's engines were running and that the air
conditioning was working. But he also said the flight's pilots come over
the public address system to warn fliers that some other systems were
"He mentioned the toilet specifically as a problem,'' Bell tells the Herald.
NBC 4 of Los Angeles showed a filled-to-the-brim seating area at one of American's gates at Los Angeles International, while the Los Angeles Times shows a number of Tweets from passengers affected by the disruption.
had been having "intermittent " problems throughout the day, but
announced at 2:38 p.m. ET that it was grounding all flights in an effort
to resolve the problem.
American initially appeared to blame its
the crash on a crash of the Sabre reservations system. However, AA
eventually backtracked, saying via Twitter that "the issue is (with) our ability to access our res system" and not with Sabre itself.
The carrier, the USA's third-biggest, first warned customers of the problems via Twitter at 12:30 p.m. ET.
reservation system is experiencing intermittent outages," AA
spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said in a 1:50 p.m. ET e-mail to Today in the
Sky. "We're working to resolve the issue as quickly as we can. We
apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."
Once the scale
of the problems became evident, American requested a Federal Aviation
Administration ground-top for flights on American and American Eagle.
to USA TODAY after a Senate hearing, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta
said AA requested the ground stop based on their operations and concerns
about the company's computers.
"It was requested on their end," Huerta said. "It was a problem with their computer system."
"They requested the ground stop based on their operational needs, based on their computer systems," Huerta said.