FAA system outage: What airlines are doing for passengers

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Airline travelers will feel ‘huge’ impact from FAA outage: Southwest Cpt. Michael Santoro

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association Vice President Cpt. Michael Santoro reacts to the FAA’s nationwide technical system outage.

Major U.S. carriers are waiving rebooking fees for all passengers affected by the Federal Aviation Administration's system-wide outage that led to mass delays and cancellations on Wednesday morning. 

The FAA lifted a ground stop just before 9 a.m. ET. However, by 12:30 p.m. ET, more than 1,100 flights were canceled and more than 7,000 were delayed, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.   

Delta Air Lines said it issued a fare difference waiver for all Delta and Delta Connection flights on Wednesday, which will "give customers additional flexibility to change their flights, even if their flight isn’t delayed or canceled." 

BIDEN SAYS FAA OUTAGE CAUSE MAY NOT BE KNOWN FOR ‘A COUPLE HOURS’

Travelers can rebook on flights on or before Friday at no extra cost as long as the seat is in the same cabin, the airline said. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.38.16+0.07+0.20%
UALUNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC.47.71+1.96+4.28%
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.35.98-0.24-0.66%

Meanwhile, United Airlines issued a travel waiver for customers who need to change plans and is also offering refunds for customers who don't want to travel. 

If they chose to rebook, United customers can switch to any flight on or before Monday for free as long as it's in the same class and between the same cities, the carrier said. 

Southwest Airlines also said that passengers traveling Wednesday could rebook within 14 days of the original date of travel for free as long as it's in the original class and between the original city pairs.

An American Airlines spokesperson told FOX Business that the carrier is also helping passengers rebook over Wednesday and Thursday. 

"To support our customers whose travel was affected by the FAA system issue, we’re providing additional flexibility to rebook their travel plans today and tomorrow without any additional fees," the spokesperson said. 

The FAA announced on Twitter that it ordered all airlines to pause domestic departures following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system, which provides safety info to flight crews. 

FAA LIFTS AIRLINE GROUND STOP AS FLIGHT DELAYS, CANCELLATIONS PILE UP ACROSS THE COUNTRY

As it worked to restore the system, there was a nationwide ground stop in place for about an hour and a half, consequently throwing thousands of passengers off track. 

Amid the chaos, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted that there was "no evidence of a cyberattack at this point" and that President Biden had directed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a full investigation into the causes.   

Biden told reporters before departing with first lady Jill Biden to Walter Reed National Medical Center for her scheduled outpatient procedure Wednesday that it would take a "couple hours" before a cause is known adding that they will "respond at that time." 

In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, the agency's "primary focus is to determine that root cause" now that the system is up and running. 

"A critical system like this has a lot of redundancy built into it with backups," Buttigieg said. "So we need to understand why with all of that redundancy, it still rose to the level that there had to be a ground stop lasting about an hour and a half and the kind of delays that we saw."  

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DataScalp CEO Dwight Harris Jr. told FOX Business that the outage "serves as a reminder that even the most well-intentioned government entities can falter in their efforts to fully support the airline industry." 

DataScap is an online platform that uses consumer data to rank companies in a performance dashboard.

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