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United Airlines grounded flights for an hour after a bad software update

Departures were paused due to a "widespread slowdown in United's technology systems."


You might have faced an unexpected but perhaps brief delay if you were catching a United Airlines flight today. The company issued a nationwide ground stop because of a "computer issue," as ABC News first reported. "United Airlines asked the FAA to pause the airline’s departures nationwide," the Federal Aviation Administration told Engadget. At 1:45PM ET, however, United lifted the ground stop and it started to spin operations back up.

United told Engadget that a software update "caused a widespread slowdown" in its "technology systems." Airborne flights still carried on to their destinations during the brief stoppage. After the issue was resolved, the company resumed flights and began working with customers whose travel was disrupted by the grounding.

United grounded its flights following a similar issue in the UK just last week. An air traffic control glitch led to the cancellation of a fifth of UK departures and 27 percent of flights that were due to arrive into the country last Monday, when the issue occurred.

Update, September 5, 2023, 4:50PM ET: This story has been updated with a statement from United explaining the ground stop was due to a software update, and to note that the ground stop has been lifted.