Computer outage grounds United flights

United Airlines
David Caradine upgraded the software at a United Airlines e-ticket kiosk at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

NEW YORK (AP) — United Airlines says it has fixed a computer problem that led to widespread delays for thousands of its passengers on Thursday morning.

The outage lasted for about two hours, and the problem was that dispatchers couldn’t send flight information to about half of the United’s mainline flights. Regional flights on United Express were not affected.

The glitch affected five flights at Logan International Airport in Boston, according to an official briefed on the matter. United was not immediately able to say how many flights overall were delayed because of the problem. Spokesman Rahsaan Johnson says few if any flights were canceled.


During the outage, passengers were told by pilots and airport agents that computers were down. Some fliers waited nearly 2 hours to depart.

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Judd Shapiro of Nashua, N.H. said he got to the gate at Logan and agents told him and other frustrated fliers that planes could land but not take off.

‘‘JetBlue is taking off, American is taking off, but United is on the ground,’’ he said. ‘‘I was having a flawless airport experience until I got to the gate.’’

This is at least the third major computer outage for the Chicago-based airline since June.

United has been struggling with technology problems since March, when it switched to a passenger information computer system that was previously used by Continental, which combined with United in 2010. That system, called ‘‘Shares,’’ has needed extensive reworking since March to make it easier for workers to use.


Johnson says the problems on Thursday were not related to integrating the computer systems of the two airlines.

Katie Johnston Chase of The Boston Globe contributed to this report.