US Customs computer outage causes delays at some airports

Holiday travellers waiting in line to go through the security checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, California, on Dec 20, 2016.
Holiday travellers waiting in line to go through the security checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, California, on Dec 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS, AFP) – A US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) computer problem lasting about four hours hit several US airports on Monday (Jan 2), causing long lines and delays at immigration checks as travellers returned from New Year’s holidays, the agency said. 

“At this time, there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
The delay hit from about 5pm to 9 pm US Eastern Standard Time (6am to 10am Singapore) and all airports are back on line, the statement from spokeswoman Jennifer Evanitsky said.

Airports in places such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston and Atlanta were affected, local airport officials said. 

“During the technology disruption, CBP had access to national security-related databases and all travellers were screened according to security standards,” the spokeswoman said.

Social media photos showed long lines at various airports where people were trying to go through immigration and customs.

An official for Miami International Airport told NBC that passengers on “more than 30 international flights were affected,” while one traveller told the same affiliate that two people fainted waiting in line. Miami International tweeted its regrets for the delays.

There appeared to have been little information and guidance for those who had been stuck in travel limbo. “People are starting to argue and get frustrated,” user Cali Rez tweeted in Miami, along with a photo of the long lines. “Get someone down here to explain things and direct the lines ASAP.”