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The near future looks turbulent for airlines

Travelers wait in line to check-in for their flights at the United Airlines Terminal 1 ahead of the Christmas Holiday at O'Hare International Airport.
Travelers wait in line to check-in for their flights at the United Airlines Terminal 1 ahead of the Christmas Holiday at O'Hare International Airport.

Millions of Americans are recovering from winter holiday travel chaos after thousands of flights were canceled due to severe winter weather and technical problems. Southwest canceled more than 16,000 flights between Christmas and New Year’s.

It was deja-vu for travelers last Wednesday after a technical glitch in the Federal Aviation Authority’s computer system forced all flights to be grounded. The agency’s Notice to Air Mission System malfunctioned, which is essential for pilots prior to take-off.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee plans to hold hearings in the coming weeks over the debacle. Members of Congress also plan to investigate the computer outage that caused the FAA’s computer system to malfunction, causing more than 10,000 flights to be delayed or canceled Wednesday morning.

The company declined our request for an interview but CEO Bob Jordan told The New York Times last week that while the company faces problems, the issues stemmed from the “historic winter storm.”

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Michelle Harven, Chris Remington