Passengers Recall Confusion, Chaos During AA Outage

AA says only 100 flights canceled Wednesday, some due to weather in Chicago

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The American Airlines computer system meltdown that shut down operations for hours Tuesday is still affecting passengers. (Published Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013)

    The American Airlines computer system meltdown that shut down operations for hours Tuesday is still affecting passengers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Wednesday morning.

    The software failure reported on Tuesday lead to some 2,000 flight cancellations and delays across the country.  Officials said about 100 flights were canceled Wednesday due to weather in Chicago and to help reposition crews.

    So far, American isn't saying much about what led to the outage other than that it was a software problem that impacted both their primary and backup systems.

    The airlines promised business would nearly be back to normal on Wednesday after its technology troubles brought flights to a stand-still, but some passengers are still reeling from what’s been a turbulent trip.

    “It’ll make me cry,” said Anita Letkeman from Lubbock.  It’s been an emotional 24 hours for Letkeman, who’s been stuck in Dallas on her way from Lubbock to Canada.

    “It was just total confusion and chaos.  I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Letkeman. 

    American Airlines’ computer system meltdown didn’t just cancel her flight.  Letkeman said it robbed her of spending an entire day with her sister, who has leukemia and has been given just days left to live. 

    “She’s in her final stages of cancer.  It was hard to give up a day with her, but I’m not the only one,” said Letkeman.

    Letkeman isn’t alone.  The software failure used to make reservations, issue boarding passes, track passengers and bags cancelled and delay thousands of travelers.

    Casey and Charlie Luckenbill, from Colorado, spent a sleepless night at the airport.

    “They say, 'Sorry, we don’t know what to tell you.'  No hotels, no vouchers.  Here’s a phone number you can call, which you can’t get through to.   Here’s a cot and a bottle of water.  Good luck.  That’s what they did,” said Casey Luckenbill.

    The bankrupt company’s outgoing CEO, Tom Horton, apologized in a message posted online Tuesday evening.

    “We let you down, again, I’m very sorry for that,” Horton said.

    American offered refunds and waived change fees and is adding flights and staff to try to get back on track.  Additionally, a company spokesperson told NBC 5 they are looking into issues regarding hotel vouchers.

    Frustrated passengers feel like the airline left them stranded and in the dark.

    “It’s so hard. You don’t know anything.  Any information, there wasn’t anybody to ask.  Anybody you did ask, they didn’t know,” said Letkeman.

    “They don’t care about the customer.  Obviously, it’s just money in their pockets.  We’re here losing money.  We should be home working.  We have children at home.  It’s like nobody cares,” said Charlie Luckenbill.