With the holiday season right around the corner, individuals across the nation will be making travel plans with the expectation – and hope – that things will run as smoothly as possible. Delays are never ideal, which is why it's crucial for airlines to ensure that they have a comprehensive business continuity plan in place.
United Airlines experienced a nationwide disruption in service on Thursday, when a computer glitch caused a massive outage, keeping passengers firmly on the ground while the problem was solved. Dispatchers were unable to send flight information to about half of United's mainland flights. According to The Associated Press, the outage lasted for about two hours and was resolved by 10 a.m.
The source added that this was at least the third major computer outage for the Chicago-based airline since June.
While United was unable to say specifically how many flights had been affected, company spokesperson Rahsaan Johnson told the AP that few, if any, flights were actually cancelled.
"You are dealing with a huge volume of traffic and a huge volume of plane movement," CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg explained in a CBS article. "It's not just the reservation system. It's the entire system that deals with where planes are and where they need to be, where crews are and where they need to be. Once you get crews out of cycle and planes out of schedule, that's when the system falls apart."
In an increasingly digital age, with more businesses relying on computer systems, it's essential for organizations to conduct thorough risk assessments when creating a business continuity plan. That way, backup systems remain strong and business resumption can happen quickly.
No customer wants to be delayed, especially those who are trying to travel across the country. Working with business continuity consultants can ensure that comprehensive plans are created for companies in multiple industries.