South Florida travelers booked on Delta Air Lines faced massive delays Monday morning after a computer system outage grounded planes worldwide for hours.
The power outage started in Atlanta, where Delta’s corporate offices are located, at about 2:30 a.m., affecting computer systems and flights, the airline said. By 7:30 a.m., Delta said “large-scale cancellations” were expected throughout the day.
Flights resumed slowly at about 8:30 a.m. But by 1:30 p.m., only 1,679 of nearly 6,000 scheduled Monday flights had taken off. As of that time, 451 flights had been canceled.
On its site Monday afternoon, Delta posted a video message from CEO Ed Bastian inside a busy operations and customer center to reassure travelers that the airline is working to return to normal operations.
“We’ve got Delta teams working around the clock to restore our system capabilities... It’s an all hands on deck effort,” Bastian said. “I apologize for the challenges this has created for you with you travel experience.”
Delays and cancellations were still expected to continue throughout the day, Delta said.
In South Florida, the outage led to backups at the airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
At Miami International Airport, 11 Delta arrivals and 14 departures were delayed by late Monday afternoon, according to an airport spokesman, accounting for about half of the airport’s daily Delta flights. Flights resumed at about 9:40 a.m., but another half-dozen arrivals and departures were expected to face delays in the evening Monday.
Delays lasted between 50 minutes and five hours, according to the MIA spokesman.
In Fort Lauderdale, flights resumed at about 9:30 a.m., but by 4 p.m. five flights were canceled — three arrivals and two departures — while about a third of the airport’s daily Delta flights — nine arrivals and 13 departures — were affected. The airport had 33 arrivals and 33 departures scheduled on Delta for Monday, according to an airport spokesman.
At Fort Lauderdale airport, long lines of passengers waited to speak with Delta personnel. On Twitter, frustrated passengers traveling from MIA reported delays lasting more than an hour, while some heading to Miami reached out to Delta asking for updates on their flights.
“We were supposed to leave at 6:30[a.m.], it’s 11:42 [a.m]., more than 5 hours later and we're still in Miami #Delta,” tweeted @Karlacrv, with a picture from inside a plane stopped on the runway at MIA.
Travelers on flights that are canceled or significantly delayed will get a refund, Delta said. Delta passengers can also reschedule their travel for free through Friday.
Customers who cancel their reservations have one year to apply the unused value of their ticket on a new ticket.