United Airlines fixes glitch, Hawaii passengers happy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

United Airlines fixes glitch, Hawaii passengers happy

Gregory Clayton Gregory Clayton
Carly Bergerhouse Carly Bergerhouse
Pam Peterson Pam Peterson

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - All flights are now ready for takeoff. No more waiting at the gate. United Airlines has fixed the computer problems that grounded planes across the country.

That included a dozen red-eye flights that were scheduled to depart Hawaii Friday night. Travelers appeared to have packed plenty of patience.


The five-hour computer blackout turned Honolulu's United counter at Honolulu International Airport into a sprawling waiting room. Hundreds of passengers sat on their luggage, played games on their phones, and found ways to entertain themselves.

One passenger said, "I've already done four crosswords, since 1:00 p.m." and we interviewed her at 8:00 p.m. Another, Carly Bergerhouse, expressed, "It was long and difficult to wait, and yeah, it was irritating."

United Airlines' computer system went down shortly after 2:15 p.m. nationwide, bringing the airline to a halt. All flights were grounded as the company worked to restore its computers. It was a malfunction that interrupted check-in kiosks, flight departures, reservations, and processing, creating gridlock at airports around the country.

"When we got here there were just people everywhere and they were trying to organize us into lines," saidPam Peterson, who was on vacation in Hawaii from San Francisco. "It was a long time for people to stand in line. They came through with water and pretzels for everybody and I think they handled it pretty well considering."

At 6:50 p.m., the airline gave people signs of hope. One representative announced, "Bear with us. We have to process all of you. The computers are up, the bag tags are working, we'll try to work as fast as we can." Racing the clock to avoid more delays, airline crews managed to get all customers from earlier flights checked in within an hour.

Peterson was impressed. "As long as we get home in a reasonable amount of time, we're gonna be good. I think they're holding the plane for us so it should be fine."

Those passengers just arriving for their flights got through check-in with plenty of time to spare. Gregory Clayton, who lives on Oahu joked, "I say that if we hadn't have come in flying, then the computers would still be down. Everything came up."

He added, "It was great. It's been a good day."

"Hawaii was great, but we're always looking forward to going home," Peterson said.

United broke the news on Twitter. Then, with thousands stuck at airports tweeting, it started trending. Even world-famous surfer, Kelly Slater, got in on the conversation. Slater was stuck in New York on his way to San Diego, and tweeted, "@UnitedAirlines is killing me with this hour on the runway after a three and a half hour delay."

Hawaii passengers fared much better.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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