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American Airlines glitch prevented passengers from getting tickets in Phoenix

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer
American Airlines flights are now taking off after a computer snafu in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

American Airlines flights are now taking off after a computer snafu in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Thanksgiving travel is already a mess.

A computer glitch in American Airlines’ (AAL) system at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International airport brought significant turbulence to travelers on the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year.

On Twitter, photojournalist Brian Acosta reported that representatives for the airline were informing passengers that they should print out their tickets before heading to the airport due to the glitch. For passengers already at the airport awaiting their flights, this meant chaos.


Shortly before 10 a.m., Acosta followed up in a tweet noting that the glitch had been fixed and the app, kiosks, and computer systems were back online.

“Everything is resolved,” a spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in an email. “American Airlines experienced a brief connectivity issue with one of its data centers today that has now been resolved. There was no impact to flight operations.”

“We are grateful for our team members in our airports who acted quickly to help our customers check in for their flights at our ticket counters to get them on their way for their Thanksgiving travels. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and all operations are returning back to normal,” the airline said.

Established airlines often have older, legacy systems that may be patched together on top of each other, having had no time to pause and rebuild from scratch. Because of that, glitches are not uncommon.

Last year American Airlines had experienced a malfunction in its Trip Trade app that resulted in 15,000 flights not being assigned pilots during the holiday season, the most critical time for airlines.

The pilots’ union and airline eventually found a solution, but not without significant effort, stress, and cost on the airline’s part.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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