Nationwide customs and border outage fuels travel delays

© Long lines are seen at Miami International Airport after a Customs and Border Protection outage Mond... IMAGE: Miami International Airport Customs line
Nationwide Customs and Border Outage Clogs Multiple Airports

A nationwide outage for Customs and Border Protection has left throngs of people dealing with significant delays in South Florida, Atlanta and Boston, multiple airports reported Monday evening.

Travelers took to social media to post photos and videos of the long lines and irritated customers.

An official for Miami International Airport told NBC 6 that passengers on more than 30 international flights were affected by the outage. One traveler told the affiliate that two people had passed out while waiting in line.

The list of airports that are reporting issues include: Miami International, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Boston's Logan International Airport.

Massive customs outage at airports nationwide delays thousands of travelers

Major chaos erupted at airports nationwide after a customs computer outage on Monday night that left thousands of travelers stranded for hours. Frustrated passengers waited in long lines from coast to coast just to be screened. Authorities are now looking into what caused the system-wide shut down. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports for TODAY from Miami International Airport.

Computer outage disrupts customs at US airports

A computer outage at US airports Monday evening left thousands of inbound international travelers stuck behind customs screening stations for hours on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The US Customs and Border Protection processing systems were back online at all airports later in the night, spokesman Daniel Hetlage said -- but not before creating long lines of disgruntled holiday travelers.
The outage lasted from about 5 to 9 p.m. ET, Hetlage said. Airport officials and travelers across the country reported delays ranging from 30 minutes to two hours.

CBP officers processed international travelers through "alternative procedures" while the agency scrambled to get systems back online.

"During the technology disruption, CBP had access to national security-related databases and all travelers were screened according to security standards," Hetlage said. "At this time, there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature."

The outage affected passengers on more than 30 flights into Miami International Airport beginning at 6 p.m., spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said. Even after service resumed, the airport said it would take extra time for CBP officers to process.

The outage lasted about 90 minutes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport before computers were running again, US Customs and Border Protection spokesman Rob Brisley said.

Jennifer Powers-Johnson was returning from a family vacation in London when she arrived at Salt Lake City International Airport.

"Delta had us all line up after we landed and it took a while before customs was even able to find us a place where we could wait because the airport is so small," Powers-Johnson said. "I would not have had any idea of what was going on if my cousin did not text me."

College student Chinedu Elendu was returning with his brother and sister from a family vacation in Nigeria when the outage held him up for about an hour and a half at San Francisco International Airport.

They had just finished two legs of their journey: a 6.5-hour flight from Nigeria to Frankfurt, Germany, followed by an 11.5-hour flight to San Francisco, he said.

"When we got to the place in customs where you scan your passport, my brother and sister scanned theirs and got through fine. Mine did not scan and I had to get in a different line. That was the line that took so long," Elendu said.

No announcements were made at the airport explaining the delay, he said. He overheard people talking about a nationwide computer problem affecting people with all kinds of passports.

Elendu still had one more leg of his trip as he headed back to Portland, Oregon, for school.

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