Some people slept on floor or cots at the airport because of the problem.
On Wednesday, there were three cancellations for American Airlines and one American Eagle out of Miami, and 102 system-wide cancellations for both American Airlines and American Eagle.
On Tuesday, American and sister airline American Eagle canceled 970 flights and delayed at least 1,068 more by early evening, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.com. That means American and Eagle canceled or delayed nearly two-thirds of their scheduled flights after they lost access to a computer system that's used for everything from issuing boarding passes to determining how much fuel to pump into the plane.
"We've accommodated passengers with other travel options, refunds and the ability to change plans at no charge," said Tom Horton, CEO of American Airlines.
"I'm here and I'm not going to leave until 6 o'clock tonight," said Brian Blackwell, a passenger at the Miami airport, who was bundled in a blanket. "This is my hotel accommodation right here."
Another passenger, Betty Ford, spent the night at the airport because, she said, the airline said the hotels were fully booked.
Meanwhile, passenger Sam Brown said he stood in line for eight hours to change his tickets.
"They keep me all night long here in the cold without saying anything," Gustavo Alvarado said.
Valerie Germain echos his words.
"We weren't told anything of what was going to happen," she said.
On Tuesday, the computer outage began snarling operations around midmorning. Eventually the Federal Aviation Administration issued a so-called ground stop for American Airlines jets around the country.
Flights already in the air were allowed to continue to their destinations, but planes on the ground from coast to coast could not take off. And travelers could do little to get back in the air until the computer system was restored.
By late afternoon, American resumed international flights and those from its major hub airports. It scrambled during the evening to put planes and crews in position to get off to a good start on Wednesday morning.
"Despite the magnitude of today's disruption, we are pleased to report that we expect our operation to run normally with only a small number of flight cancellations" on Wednesday, said Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for American. She said American would add flights to accommodate stranded passengers.
American blamed the outage on a loss of access to computer networks that are used for flight reservations and many other functions. Airlines commonly rely on such systems to track passengers and bags, monitor who boards planes, and update flight schedules and gate assignments. The computers are also used to file flight plans and tell employees which seats should be filled to ensure that the plane is properly balanced.
American's system is hosted by Sabre Holdings, a one-time division of American that was spun off into a separate travel-reservations technology company. American said the outage wasn't Sabre's fault, and other airlines that use Sabre didn't experience problems.
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