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Delta Air Lines Computer Failure Hobbles Service


Luggage sat on the tarmac at the Orlando International Airport on Monday morning after a power failure grounded Delta Air Lines flights. Credit Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel, via Associated Press

A power failure at Delta Air Lines shut down the carrier’s computer systems early Monday and grounded flights for about six hours. Though some departures resumed Monday morning, the company said it expected delays to cascade throughout the day.

“We’re recovering various systems as they become available,” said Michael Thomas, a Delta spokesman. “Certainly, we will expect to have delays throughout the rest of the day.”

What happened?

The airline blamed a power failure in Atlanta, which began at about 2:30 a.m. Eastern time, for shutting down its computer systems worldwide. Delta is based in Atlanta and operates its own in-house computer system, known as Deltamatic, for booking reservations.

A spokesman for Georgia Power, John Kraft, said the shutdown was caused when a piece of electrical equipment called a switchgear broke down. The power cutoff did not affect other parts of Atlanta.

“We believe that Delta Air Lines experienced an equipment failure overnight that caused their outage,” he said. “Our Georgia Power crews have been on site this morning. We’re working closely with the team at Delta as they repair that equipment.”

What’s the effect?

As of 10:45 a.m. Eastern, 300 Delta flights had been canceled, Mr. Thomas said.

The airline was scheduled to operate roughly 6,000 departures on Monday, and so far, about 800 of those flights have departed.


Delta Air Lines passengers waited in line at a ticket counter in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Monday. Credit Seth Wenig/Associated Press

“We still certainly anticipate delays, but the fact that we’ve operated roughly 800 flights this morning demonstrates positive momentum,” Mr. Thomas said.

What can passengers do?

Delta is granting full refunds to passengers whose flights were canceled or significantly delayed. (“Significant” is determined case by case, Mr. Thomas said.)

The company is also waiving the change fee for flights scheduled for Monday. Passengers may rebook those flights for any day up to Friday, without being charged a difference in fare.

Passengers complained of hourslong delays, long lines at airports and incorrect flight status information on airport screens and on the company website, delta.com. Calls to customer service were reported to take 30 minutes or longer.

A Twitter user identified as Anthony Navarro, said he was forced to cancel a cruise after his flight to Miami was delayed.

Mr. Thomas said the airline was experiencing high call volumes and asked passengers “to try and be patient as we work through the backlog of customers who may be trying to reach us.”

“We apologize to customers who are affected by this issue, and our teams are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible,” Delta said in a statement.

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