Mon, Aug 13, 2007
International Passengers Kept On Planes For Hours
Officials at Los Angeles
International Airport say a malfunctioning computer system was to
blame for stranding over 20,000 international passengers on the
The US Customs and Border Protection system went down around
1400 PDT Saturday, reports the Los Angeles Times. The resulting
delays forced some planes to sit on the tarmac for hours... so
long, in fact, that crews were kept busy refilling fuel tanks for
the aircrafts' auxiliary power units.
Things didn't get much better for passengers even after they
were able to finally get off the planes. By the time passengers set
foot in the Bradley terminal, most airport restaurants were
closed... and long lines awaited them at those facilities still
"This is probably one of the worst days we've had. I've been
with the agency for 30 years and I've never seen the system go down
and stay down for as long as it did," said acting port director for
customs Peter Gordon.
The system finally came back up just after midnight Sunday, said
Los Angeles World Airports spokesman Tom Winfrey. The last few
passengers cleared customs just before 0400. Two flights were
diverted to other airports with customs services.
Delays and gridlock spread to other areas of LAX, as well.
Airport parking lots were so gridlocked, customs spokesman Michael
Fleming told reporters after an extremely long day, he opted to
stay at the airport -- rather than fight traffic.
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