If you were flying or scheduled to fly American Airlines this afternoon you already know this, but:
American grounded all of its flights this afternoon because of some unspecified computer foulup.
From the American Web site:
American's network system is experiencing intermittent outages. At this
time, we are holding all flights on the ground until later this
afternoon, when we will provide another update. We are working to
resolve this issue as quickly as we can, and we apologize to our
customers for this inconvenience.
If your travel plans are flexible, there will be no charge if you would
like to change your reservation and we will provide full refunds if your
travel plans are not flexible. However, we are unable to make changes
to current travel plans until we have resolved this issue.
We will provide another update as soon as we have more information.
Oh yes, American. Please do just that.
UPDATE -- As of 4 p.m. eastern time, the American system was lumbering back, but thousands of passengers were still stuck on planes that hadn't been able to take off. The mess was especially pronounced at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport --not that the Dallas newspaper was of any use. As of 4 p.m. eastern time. Central time, the Dallas News had not a word about the American mess -- in American's home town. The Fort Worth paper did a little better informing the locals.
UPDATE -- Somebody unpleasantly and anonymously pointed out (sorry, lost the comment) that the Dallas News aviation "blog" had updated news on this throughout. Dunno. It sure wasn't part of the general news coverage one could find on the online site, indicating that it was aimed at travelers who are already primed to consult it. The Fort Worth paper, on the other hand, had readily accessible news. I guess my point is that an event like this is general news, not niche news. The same anonymous commenter said that the web site Joesentme.com had timely updates, which was beside the point. I'm sure it did. That's a subscription site with updates and commentary specifically marketed to frequent business travelers, and I am not a subscriber. My point was that this kind of event -- major airline delays caused by a computer problem -- ought to be treated as general "run of the paper" news. It isn't niche news, and some people who make a living in the intensely narrow field of airline news forget that airlines are a major component of the national transportation network. Sometimes airline news is inside-baseball. Sometimes it's actual news. This blog is not aimed at the aviation and business-travel community, except sometimes.
Also, I have always made it very clear here that I am a self-employed freelance writer, and have been for 25 years, and that this blog is a probably insane personal initiative with no relationship whatsoever to any news organization. I'm the sole reporter, writer, columnist, editor and publisher and capital investor. And I don't care at all for "ombudsmen" with slight journalism credentials separating flyshit from pepper, so that position remains unfilled.