Thousands of stranded Delta Air Lines passengers around the world braced for what the company called “large-scale” flight cancellations and long wait times Monday, hours after a power outage crippled its global computer systems.
Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled by mid-morning. In Richmond, Virginia, boarding passes were written out by hand. In Tokyo, a dot-matrix printer was resurrected to keep track of passengers on a flight to Shanghai. In New York, self service check-in kiosks were dark.
The Atlanta-based carrier said the outage began at around 2:30 a.m. Eastern. Delta lifted its ground stop shortly after 8:30 a.m. Eastern but warned that travelers could expect significant delays and more cancellations.
The company said travelers would be entitled to a refund for cancellations or serious delays. Travelers on some routes can also change their tickets free of charge.
“We apologize to customers who are affected by this issue, and our teams are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement.
It noted that flight status systems, including airport screens, were incorrectly showing flights on time, something the company was trying to address.
Many passengers, like Bryan Kopsick, 20, from Richmond, were shocked that computer glitches could cause such turmoil. “It does feel like the old days,” Kopsick said. “Maybe they will let us smoke on the plane, and give us five-star meals in-flight too!”
Early confirmation of the troubles first came in an official account that responds to customers via Twitter. The company had said its IT systems were down “everywhere.”
Flights in the air at the time of the outage were operating normally.