United Airlines Technical Glitch Causes 200 Delays
United Airlines, the subsidiary of United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL) suffered a computer outage Tuesday that caused hundreds of flights to be delayed.
The company's computer system and website went down for approximately two and a half hours, leading to a minimum of 200 delays. Two and a half hours might not sound like a lot, but an outage for that length of time will still be felt long after the computer system is back online.
In terms of public relations, it hasn't been the best of months for United Airlines, which managed to lose a 10-year-old girl at the end of July.
According to the Huffington Post, Phoebe Klebahn was flying as an "unaccompanied minor" from San Francisco to Traverse City, Michigan with a connection in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Her parents had paid an extra $99 to help her through the trip. However, when the flight landed in Chicago, young Klebahn was left to fend for herself. She was fine, and eventually located and made the trip, but her parents were less than happy with United Airlines.
There was no sign of a news release explaining the computer outage on UnitedAirlines.com on Wednesday morning, though the airline has been busy on Twitter. At about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, it tweeted that it is "in the process of resuming operations and rebooking customers."
Earlier, the company had tweeted thanks to the passengers for their patience, and offered to book new flights at no extra costs. Apparently, Twitter is now an integral part of the airline industry.
On August 7, Benzinga reported that United Airlines had attempted to raise airfares for the second time in two weeks but it abandoned the idea because of a lack of demand.
Rising jet fuel prices may be behind airlines' continued attempts to increase airfares and other types of fees. The price of jet fuel has jumped 7 percent this year already. In 2011, jet fuel prices increased by more than 30 percent for airlines in comparison to the year before.
On Wednesday morning, United Continental Holdings traded at about $18.50, down roughly 2.6 percent.
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