United Airlines was forced to cancel 31 flights and delay 105 worldwide due to a five hour computer outage last Friday night, which served as a shocking reminder of airlines’ dependence on technology

United was not able to explain the failure on Saturday.

The shutdown happened late in the day Friday, so many of the cancelled flights were the last flights out, stranding passengers, according to Forrester Research Analyst Henry Harteveldt.

“It happened as a lot of the airline was going to sleep for the night,” Harteveldt said in a Boston Globe article.

Although the timing was as convenient as possible for the airlines, passengers were still upset.

This mishap was miniscule compared to that during the Northeast blizzards in December and January, which lead to a combined total of nearly 19,000 flights canceled.

Huggins’ inconvenience ended in a $1,200 charge to book one of the last seats on an American Airlines flight to his destination.

Charles Hobart, and United spokesman, told the Globe that flights were expected to resume mid day Saturday, but may have been delayed.

On a daily basis, United cancels 15 to 30 flights per day for various reasons such as maintenance problems or staff shortages.

Although many passengers felt the shutdown should not have affected them as much as it did, according to the Globe article, airlines are more dependent on computers than ever.

Almost every step in the airline procedure is computerized, from reservations to flight paths.

United allowed passengers with flights scheduled for Saturday to switch them free of charge to avoid further delay.

About The Author

Brittney McNamara is a Blast Junior Editor

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