United Airlines flights resume after network outage

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HOUSTON - United Airlines resumed flights Tuesday after a network outage halted planes for hours.

United said its passenger service system (PSS) had a system-wide outage at 2 p.m. The outage had many flights grounded at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Officials said the computer problem was not related to Hurricane Isaac.

"Just minutes before push-back, the pilot came on and said, 'Well, folks, I'm sorry to report that we've had a nationwide computer outage. This is United only evidently. And he said they are trying to get it fixed as soon as possible," passenger Joe Davis said.

Flights resumed around 5 p.m.

The computer issue also caused an outage for www.united.com. The PSS is used for reservations, ticketing, check-ins, etc. Officials said it is not operationally involved with the safety of aircraft, but is critical for checking in and, in some cases, boarding passengers.  

The airline issued a waiver policy permitting customers on affected flights to cancel or rebook their itineraries without penalty.

"United apologizes for the disruption caused to travelers at affected airports and is reaccommodating customers as quickly as possible," a statement said.

Hurricane Isaac caused problems for other air travelers, as well. Three airports -- in New Orleans, Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama -- were closed for the storm. About 1,500 flights were canceled.

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