United Airlines Suffers Technical Glitches, Delaying Hundreds of Flights, Thousands of Passengers

United Airlines battled major service disruptions and technical glitches on Saturday including kiosk malfunctions, jammed phone line and problems with the reservation system causing flight delays as it combated the problems. The problems stemmed from the company, still integrating the former Continental Airlines, adopted Continental's single passenger reservation system.

A glitch in combining the merging companies' systems caused the self-service kiosks to fail. Thousands of travelers waited in line to see service agents to assist them with their flights check-ins.

We did have some issues with our kiosks and at times that slowed the check-in process, said Megan McCarthy said, spokeswoman for United Airlines, reported Reuters.

However, McCarthy also said that by Sunday afternoon, the airline was operating with fewer delays. The company reported that approximately 83.1 percent of domestic mainline flights were arriving on time. Keeping in part with the company's 80 percent monthly goals, reported Reuters.

Our IT department still continues to fine-tune our system, McCarthy said.

However, many airports suffered as a result of the technical problems.

United's on-time percentage out of O'Hare airport was 16 percent, reported MSNBC. Citing FlightStats.com, out of 83 departures, one flight was cancelled, 28 were delayed approximately 15 to 30 minutes, 20 were delayed approximately 30 to 45 minutes and another 21 were delayed about over 45 minutes.

Barring an absolute meltdown, the electronic side has gone as well as expected, said Joe Brancatelli, frequent flier and publisher of business-travel newsletter JoeSentMe, according to msnbc.com. In fairness, I don't see the gigantic problems we've seen with other cutovers.

Customers said they were forced to wait in line for nearly 20 minutes to check-in, while others said their flights were being cancelled without any explanation.

Kinda bummed--I actually wanted to fly on the last day Continental-branded flights would be in the air, flier Kevin Whited said, reported Chron, who's from Newark, N.J. to Buffalo, N.Y was cancelled.

Unfortunately for Whited, the last Continental Airlines flight flew from Narita, Japan and arrived at Bush Intercontinental in Houston at approximately 12:10 p.m. Saturday. Fire trucks shot water over the plane as a final salute to the company.

For individuals travelling this week, Brancatelli said it would best to carry-on luggage if possible, print out everything ahead of time and leave for the airport with plenty of time to spare.

Don't obsess that all the miles you've rode haven't caught up. They will. Today is about people traveling now, he said, according to MSNBC.

United and Continental had attempted to prepare for the merger. The company spent months training about 15,000 employees on the new software, reported Reuters. Earlier this week, carriers conducted four dress rehearsals earlier this week, getting ready for the big day.  However, problems still spawned as the employees adjusted and deal with technical issues. Still, United Airlines is confident they can work through the issues and operate more efficiently in the coming weeks.

As in any dress rehearsal, we figured out potential issues that might arise, fixed them and developed procedures in case they arise again, said Spokesperson Rahsaan Johnson, according to MSNBC.

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