Computer outage grounds US flights

A computer outage in the US on Wednesday brought thousands of flights nationwide to a standstill.

The Federal Aviation Authority said the trouble resulted from the failure of a system called Notice to Air Missions, which is used to send safety alerts to pilots. The agency was forced to delay more than 7,700 flights and cancel more than 1,100. Airline and airport employees, as well as passengers, were left in the dark.

One traveler at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport said, "There's just a lot of frustration, a lot of confusion, trying to figure out what I should do."

Another said, "I hope it doesn't go into tonight. But if it does, then it's just part of the journey."

Regulators managed to resolve the problem and get planes back in the air within a few hours.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "The FAA is working aggressively to get to the bottom of the root cause for the system outages so that it does not happen again."

Frequent fliers were still recovering from the chaos they endured over the holiday season. A storm cancelled thousands of flights in December. The changes overwhelmed the system and staff at Southwest Airlines, compounding the crisis. This time, however, most travelers learned the problems were countrywide and had nowhere to direct their blame.