Hundreds Of Passengers Delayed
In bringing you this story, please
allow us to introduce you to a concept that, while expensive, has
proved most gratifying here at ANN.
That's the kind of work you do on a computer when the computer
itself is on the fritz. We strongly believe that, if you hit it
with a hammer long enough and hard enough, things will get better.
Even if your computer isn't fixed, things will get better.
Perhaps what Continental Airlines needs is a bigger hammer. The
company's main computer system crashed Sunday, stranding hundreds
of passengers at its Bush Intercontinental hub in Houston (TX) and
That was Saturday morning. For the next 36 hours or so, crew
members had to calculate their own weight and balance, wind speed
and course correction and fuel computations by hand -- something
most haven't had to do since they were green young GA pilots.
Passenger Ben Bentzen of Austin (TX)
was stuck on board his ground-bound flight to Costa Rica for almost
two hours Sunday. After he was finally allowed to deplane, he told
a reporter on the telephone, "I see a bunch of unhappy passengers
wishing they were taking off now." Ironically, a lot of them had
more computing power in their laptops than Continental had at the
"We're having to deal with passengers who can't go anywhere,"
said Bush airport spokesman Ernie DeSoto. Of course, he says nobody
told him of any cancellations. The computers were down, remember?
"We're putting them in any spot we can." Guess he didn't get the
Well, it's all over but the crying now. Continental says it's
trying to figure out what caused the computer system to go down in
the first place. And a lot of employees who had to deal with a lot
of very angry passengers don't ever want to go through that
"I've seen thunderstorms that gave us worse operation than
that," said Continental spokesman Rahsaan Johnson.