United Airlines grounded departing flights across the nation for about two hours this morning after one of its computer systems failed.
Computer operations resumed at 8 a.m. PDT but not before triggering systemwide flight delays, United Airlines spokesman Pete Scales said. He could not say how many of the Chicago-based carrier's 3,600 scheduled flights today have been canceled or delayed.
"We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for our customers' patience as we resume operations," he said. He advised passengers to check on flight status at the airline's website, www.united.com.
Joe Brancatelli, who edits Joe Sent Me, a travel newsletter for business travelers, advised travelers "to cancel any travel you may have planned today on United" in an e-mail sent today.
"Planes are now out of position throughout the country and possibly throughout the world," Brancatelli said. "I would also be extremely circumspect about flying United in the next day or two.... This is clearly a large disruption and is certain have a ripple effect on United's schedule throughout the week."
It was not clear what type of computer system was hit by the outage, but Scales said it affected departing flights.
There were no other reports of computer outages at other airlines. A spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles said its air traffic control system suffered no disruptions.
United is Los Angeles International Airport's largest carrier. The airline and its subsidiaries account for about 15% of passenger traffic there, according to the most recent statistics.