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I am one of the three percent. I fly American Airlines, which flies about three percent of the flights out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The airline does not have a big presence at MSP, but when it had a sysytem-wide computer malfunction on Tuesday, it grounded flights across the nation, including at MSP. The computer breakdown meant that the airline could not access its reservation system, but also could not print boarding passes, track bags or determine the weight on a plane. Fortunately, the outage lasted only a few hours.
United suffered similar computer problems last year, in August and again in November, after it combined its reservation system with Continental as a result of the airlines' merger. Combining computer systems can create loads of problems.
When I few American at Easter, from New Orleans back home via Dallas, a storm popped up in Dallas (as happens frequently in the South), threatening my connection. The kind flight attendants told me not to worry unduly. If weather was delaying our flight (which was taking a much longer route around the storm), it was certainly delaying others. They predicted I would make my connection, even if I got home a little later than expected. Then, almost on cue, the pilot announced the skies had cleared and we would be only a few minutes late.
Let's hope that when American merges with US Airways, no storm clouds hover over the merged computer systems.
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