Senators continue their ongoing investigation into the reliability of airline IT systems and airline consumer protections


Washington (January 23, 2017) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today sent a letter to United Airlines, Inc. inquiring about the state of the airline’s Information Technology (IT) system in light of yesterday’s computer failure and flight disruptions.  According to media reports, an IT issue yesterday caused United Airlines to ground all domestic flights for two and a half hours, resulting in hundreds of flight delays.  In the letter, the Senators request information on the nature of the IT failure and what safeguards and backups were in place to prevent such an issue from occurring.  The Senators also ask about how United Airlines accommodated impacted passengers, including reimbursement and compensation offerings.

“In a world where consumers can find, purchase, and check in for flights from their smartphones, IT failures should not be grounding entire airline fleets,” write Senators Markey and Blumenthal. “Now that three of the four largest air carriers have recently experienced significant disruptions due to IT failures, it is time for airlines to update their IT systems for the jet age.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


In August, Senators Markey and Blumenthal queried 13 major airlines about efforts to ensure airline IT systems are reliable and resilient.