Passengers react to unprecedented FAA system outage

In an event that reportedly hasn’t occurred since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FAA ordered a nationwide ground stoppage after a computer outage Wednesday morning.

FAA officials said “preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file. At this time, there is no evidence of a cyberattack.”

The outage led to thousands of cancelled and delayed flights, leaving many passengers stranded at unfamiliar airports.

“We had to check out of our hotel so we didn’t have a choice,” said Laura Rutter, who was visiting the United States from Sydney, Australia. She and her family were headed to Orlando to take in a dose of Disney. “We’re here at the airport. We just feel sorry for the staff working here today. They’re gonna have a tough day.”

“I didn’t think it was too bad at all,” said Linda Sullo, who was headed from Boston to Jacksonville, but found herself rerouted through JFK instead of Atlanta. “I mean, I woke up at seven and saw the news and said, ‘Oh, I probably won’t even be going today.’”

“It’s chaos. It is,” said Francesse Dorval, who faced a seven-hour wait for a flight to Fort Lauderdale — which was not even her original destination.

“We had to change the flight from one city to another, otherwise I would have been stranded,” she said.

Stranded, because at her original destination, West Palm Beach, car rental counters would have been closed by the time JetBlue would be able to get her there.

Though she was headed to Florida for a vacation, Dorval already had the return trip on her mind.

“The funny thing is, I have to drop the car in Fort Lauderdale when I come back from my trip... and go back to West Palm and get my plane,” she said. “That is a crazy situation.

“I guess it is what it is. Sometimes you cannot control situations.”

The FAA is continuing a thorough review to determine the root cause of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system outage.

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