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Computer Glitch Snags Southwest Airlines Flights

57 Flights Canceled Friday Night, Saturday Morning
(credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Southwest Airlines canceled several flights Saturday morning, after a computer glitch grounded the entire fleet overnight.

Fourteen flights were canceled Saturday morning across the country because crews were not able to get to airports in time to make the scheduled takeoffs, according to airline spokeswoman Michelle Agnew. On Friday night, 43 more flights were canceled in the western half of the country.

The computer that handled passenger check-ins and other vital procedures went down Friday, and the airline had to switch to a backup server.

An estimated 250 flights — most of them on the West Coast — were grounded at least temporarily Friday night. The glitch impaired the airline’s ability to do such things as conduct check-ins, print boarding passes and monitor the weight of each aircraft.

“They didn’t even start boarding the plane, because once the plane landed they didn’t do anything with the planes. They just told everyone to sit and wait,” one traveler said. “So we waited about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.”

Fights already in the air were not affected.

Locally, Southwest serves LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International, and Long Island MacArthur airports.

Agnew said the computer system was back to “full capacity” early Saturday. The airline had used a slower backup system after the shutdown affecting about 250 flights.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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