LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An outage that crippled the main reservations system for American Airlines has been fixed after disrupting travel for thousands of passengers at Los Angeles International and airports around the U.S.

The outage – which initially affected operations from LAX to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to JFK International in New York City – was first announced by American Airlines on Twitter around 9:20 a.m., citing an unspecified issue with the airline’s booking system.

American Airlines spokeswoman Stacey Frantz said Tuesday that the system was fixed by 4:30 p.m. EDT, but the airline warned on Twitter that passengers should expect to see flight delays and cancellations throughout the rest of the day.

Tracking service FlightAware says that as of mid-afternoon, American has canceled more than 700 flights and another 765 flights are delayed, according to the Associated Press.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports most passengers inside Terminal 4 at LAX were waiting at least 60 minutes or more and some were concerned they may miss their flights.

“Very frustrating, we’ve got hotel bookings and all,” said one traveler. “We are losing money.”

Airline officials urged any stranded passengers to consider the following steps:

    • To avoid a potentially long wait at the airport, think about canceling. American is offering free reservation changes and refunds for stranded passengers. If customers must travel and are not yet at the airport, they can rebook through American Airlines reservations or through another carrier and American will honor the fare difference, the airline announced.
    • To circumvent busy phone lines, Brian Kelly, founder of ThePointsGuy.com, suggests trying the airline’s international customer service phone numbers or reaching out via Twitter — American’s hashtag is @AmericanAir.
    • Consider buying a one-day pass to the airline lounge. You can get away from the crowd and there are usually free drinks and small snacks. One-day passes typically cost $50 per person. Up to three children under the age of 18 years of age may be admitted at no additional charge with an adult.
    • Ask for a hotel voucher. The airline might be willing to pay for your room or at least get you a discounted “distressed traveler” rate.

Shortly after 5 p.m., the airline released a statement suggesting the effects should be minimal.

“Our networking systems have been fully restored and we are working to return to normal operations,” the statement said. “Flights from our hubs and international flights having been re-started, and we will reposition aircraft and crew throughout the evening. Despite the magnitude of today’s disruptions, we are pleased to report that we expect our operation to run normally with only a small number of flight cancellations expected tomorrow. We will add additional flights, as needed, tomorrow to ensure our customers are able to continue their travels. Again, we sincerely apologize to our customers for this inconvenience and thank our team for their extraordinary efforts today.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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