United Airlines flights at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport were resuming after the airline resolved a computer glitch that grounded its flights for more than an hour on Wednesday morning.
The nation’s second-biggest airline began to resume operations shortly after 9:40 a.m., lifting an order that had grounded all of its flights across the country since just before 8:30 a.m.
All United Airlines flights across the country, including those in Buffalo, had been grounded for about an hour and 20 minutes because of what the Federal Aviation Administration called “automation issues.” Flights operated by United’s regional carriers under the United Express name were grounded for only about 20 minutes before resuming service.
“They’re back on line as of 9:40 a.m.,” said Douglas Hartmayer, a spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which operates the Buffalo airport.
“It may take an hour or two to get things back on schedule,” he said.
The grounding is sure to have ripples that affect United’s schedule throughout the day as the airline scrambles to catch up on flights that were unable to take off while its computers were down. Hartmayer urged travelers on United flights today to download the airline’s smartphone app for the latest updates on the status of their flights.
United has 15 flights that leave the Buffalo airport, including seven to Newark, N.J., three to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., and five to Chicago.
Travelers on social media sites complained of waiting for hour-long waits to check in for United flights across the country. Some posted photos of blank arrival and departure screens at airports.
The grounding affects only flights operated directly by United. Flights operated by United’s regional partners under the United Express name have since been released from the ground stop, the FAA said.
A United flight that took off from Buffalo to O’Hare International Airport at 7:43 a.m. this morning – 18 minutes late – landed in Chicago at 9:11 a.m., only two minutes late, according to a list of flights on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority website. United has three other flights set to depart from Buffalo this morning.
Flights in the air were unaffected by the computer glitch. A flight to Buffalo from Newark, N.J. that took off before the computer glitch led to the grounding arrived on schedule at 9:11 a.m., the airport said. The only two other United flights bound for Buffalo were both in the air during the grounding; one landed early, while the other was seven minutes late.
A United flight to Buffalo that was scheduled to leave Chicago just before noon had its departure delayed by more than an hour by mid-morning.
“We experienced a network connectivity issue this morning,” United Airlines said in a statement. “We’re recovering from a network connectivity issue & restoring flight ops. We’ll have a waiver on united.com to change flights.”
The grounding is the second in the last two months for United, which was forced to halt U.S. takeoffs on June 2 for less than an hour because of a lack of “proper dispatch information.”