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United Airlines Computer Problem Strands 2,500 LAX Passengers

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Blame it on "network connectivity" issues: 16 flights on Friday and 15 flights today operated by United Airlines left passengers stranded all over the country, including here in Los Angeles. Flights between San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) seem to have been particularly affected.

The actual computer meltdown happened at around 5:30 p.m. last night, according to the Sacramento Bee, who report that it took about five hours for the airline to get back up and running:

Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles says United began processing passengers shortly after 10 p.m. Friday when the airline announced that its systems were up and running again. [...] Castles says 32 outbound flights were delayed and two flights - one to San Francisco and one to London - were canceled. She says the affected flights will all get off the ground Friday evening or early Saturday.

While Castles said things were calm and orderly, not all who were caught up in the problem had the same experience.

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@c_nich Tweeted at 8:49 this morning: "SFO => LAX, united flights are cancelled and people are reverting to primitive tribal travel-rage clans. Our species is doomed."

With full flights already on the books for United this weekend, getting the inconvenienced passengers on new flights is going to be challenging. "To try to alleviate the congestion, the airline allowed passengers with tickets on Saturday flights to cancel or delay their travel to a later date without charge," explains CBS2, adding that "Saturday is one of the lighter travel days." It could take "several days" for the airline to get everyone settled.