Tourism & Cruises

Customs computers went down for two hours across the country causing long lines at MIA

Danny Angelo, 23, waits with flowers for his girlfriend at Miami International Airport Friday, Aug. 16. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection computer outage caused long wait times for international travelers.
Danny Angelo, 23, waits with flowers for his girlfriend at Miami International Airport Friday, Aug. 16. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection computer outage caused long wait times for international travelers.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection computers were down across the country Friday afternoon during one of Miami International Airport’s busiest travel times.

The MIA computers went down at around 4:30 p.m. Friday, said airport spokesperson Greg Chin. The system was back up by 6:45 p.m. During the outage, the MIA computers worked intermittently, according to Chin, and around 1,000 people moved slower than usual through the passport processing line.

In a statement, CBP spokesperson Keith Smith said the agency processed travelers using alternative methods.“The affected systems are coming back online and travelers are being processed accordingly. CBP will continue to monitor the incident. There is no indication the disruption was malicious in nature at this time.”

Friday evening is peak time for international arrivals. More than two dozen international flights are scheduled to arrive between 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m and another 15 before 7:00 p.m.

At MIA, those meeting passengers said they spent more than an hour at the international arrivals gate waiting for their parties.

As of 6:20 p.m., 23-year-old Amanda Cristina said she had been waiting for an hour and a half to see her boyfriend, who is visiting from Peru. Though frustrated, she wasn’t giving up. “It’s been a long time since I kissed him,” she said.

Danny Angelo, 23, also waited with a bouquet of flowers for girlfriend, Jessie, who was returning from Zurich. He included sunflowers — her favorites.

Inside the security area, customs agents manually checked passports. His girlfriend had been in touch. “She said the line is long as hell.”

Disruptions at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were limited, said spokesman Greg Meyer. The system came back on line in time to process travelers from afternoon flights.

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