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United Airlines flights back on track after computer problems

Updated Saturday, June 18, 2011 | 1:24 p.m.

United Airlines flights were back on schedule Saturday after all incoming and outbound flights were grounded nationwide Friday because of a computer problem, a spokesman with the Clark County Department of Aviation said.

According to the McCarran International Airport website, starting at 7:47 p.m., there were seven United flights scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas Friday evening. Five departures were scheduled for the rest of the night.

United Airlines passengers across the country were stranded for at least five hours.

United Airlines announced to passengers in Denver that it was preparing to resume service shortly after 11 p.m. MDT — about five hours after the computer problems started.

The airline still had no explanation for the outage Saturday afternoon. Mary Clark, a United spokeswoman, said she couldn't say how many passengers were delayed or how many still needed to reach their destination by midday Saturday. About the outage itself, she and other airline personnel said only that it was caused by "a network connectivity issue."

Earlier the airline confirmed the problem on Twitter. United spokesman Charles Hobart did not elaborate on the nature of the problem. He said the airline is apologizing to travelers.

As a result of the outage, long lines of passengers formed at check-in counters at Chicago's O'Hare International and Denver International airports, two of United's largest hubs.

The plans of landscape designer Stephanie Hochman, of Denver, to fly to Wichita, Kansas to visit her family were stymied by the outage.

"I was rushing, because I was running a little late," she said. "I kept checking computers to see if the flight was still on time. I thought it was all good, until I got to the airport and saw the people standing around at the checkout counter."

Hochman, 26, said United workers were telling customers the computers were down and they were trying to get things going.

"As of right now, I'm giving them another hour," she said. "After that, I'm going home and will give them a call tomorrow."

Hobart said the airline is apologizing to travelers.

Later, staff at Denver International Airport made the announcement on the loud speakers, saying computers were slowly coming online. A flight to Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport was being prepared for departure.

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