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United says hardware issue caused outage

CHICAGO — United Airlines said a piece of computer hardware was behind the technology meltdown that delayed 580 flights and shut down its website for more than two hours.

The outage on Tuesday prevented workers from boarding passengers on time. United passengers reported long lines in the airline’s hubs in Newark, N.J., San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago. It also caused nine cancellations.

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The problem was a piece of hardware in a data center that failed to communicate properly with other computer equipment,a spokeswoman for United Continental Holdings Inc. said.

United has been struggling with technology problems since March, when it switched to a passenger information computer system that was previously used by Continental.

The spokeswoman said that Tuesday’s problems were not caused by that system.

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