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Wed, Jun 20, 2007

Computer Problem Causes More 'Flights Of Note' At United

Outage Snags Domestic Departures

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 06.20.07 1310 EDT: All United Airlines domestic departures scheduled within a two hour period Wednesday morning were temporarily halted by a computer outage.

Airline spokeswoman Robin Urbanski told The Associated Press the airline doesn't know just yet what caused the problem, which grounded all flights scheduled to depart from 0800 to 1000 CDT.

"We were experiencing a computer outage and now our computers are back up," she said. "Right now we're working hard to resume our operations."

The computer snafu was confirmed by FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

Lengths of the delays ranged from between one-to-two hours at United's hub at Chicago O'Hare, to about 30 minutes at San Francisco International Airport.

"I expect it to decrease as the day goes on," said Michael McCarron, director of community affairs for SFO. "And by noon, (it will) be pretty much back on track."

United is among several carriers troubled this year by persistent -- and highly-publicized -- ground delays. In May, the airline announced a plan to address those delays, with the longest events dubbed "flights of note."

That plan (and the corporate-speak euphemism) was quickly criticized by many in the airline industry, including the carrier's own flight attendants, for doing little to actually address poor planning, poor scheduling and poor staffing decisions that they say cause increased cancellations.

FMI: www.united.com

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