American Airlines’ planes were again taking off at Miami International Airport Tuesday night, after flights were grounded for hours due to a system outage that prevented gate agents from accessing the reservation system.
"There's no information and really we don't know if there's a next flight and when,” said Tali Zarnaby, who accompanied her sister to the airport and ended up waiting with her for hours.
The line at the check-in counter looped around several times, as passengers whose flights had been cancelled or delayed hoped to rebook.
"We thought we'd come early ‘cause of the Boston stuff, we thought security would be bad, now this on top of it, I'm not a fan of American,” said Sharon Breore, who was stuck in line, even as her flight to Raleigh was supposed to be taking off.
The glitch resulted in a public relations nightmare for the airline. Customers flooded American Airlines’ social media sites with their complaints, and @AmericanAir was busy tweeting apologies.
On its Facebook page, AA posted a statement that said it was working to return to normal operations.
“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 expected (Wednesday),” the airline said. “We will add additional flights, as needed, (Wednesday) to ensure our customers are able to continue their travels.”
American Airlines Chairman and CEO Tom Horton also posted a video in which he apologized to passengers and explained the situation.
After the system was up and running again, some passengers managed to make their flights, or find new ones. But others weren’t as lucky. At MIA, Gate D was a showcase of despair, from the faces of frustration, to the looks of defeat.
"Actually, I'm trying not to think. I’m tired, it’s frustrating,” said Ifat Zarnaby, the sister of Tali Zarnaby. She missed her connecting flight to Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Cuban artist Flor de Loto, her ticket in hand, rejoiced when she was rebooked.
She was happy to be making it to her destination, even if it would be a day later than planned.
"Now, I can only travel tomorrow, otherwise I would have to stay here on standby until 7 a.m.," she said.
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