Southwest grounds flights due to computer glitch

Associated Press
In this Feb. 9, 2012 file photo, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 waits to take off at Chicago's Midway Airport as another lands. A spokesman for Southwest Airlines says all departing flights have been grounded due to a system-wide computer problem, Saturday, June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines grounded its entire fleet of aircraft preparing for departure late Friday due to a system-wide computer problem, but flights already in the air were not affected, a company spokesman said.

Brad Hawkins, spokesman for the Dallas-based airline, told The Associated Press the computer glitch impaired the airline's ability to do such things as conduct check-in, print boarding passes and monitor the weight of the aircraft. Some flights were on the taxiway and diverted back to the terminal after the glitch occurred around 11 p.m. ET Friday, he said.

By nearly 2 a.m. ET Saturday, service still hadn't resumed, but Hawkins said "it's definitely all hands on deck to figure out the situation." However, he said the airline doesn't do redeye flights and was near "the end of our operational day," so it wasn't clear if any flights would take off before daybreak.

Because of the late hour of the disruption, the computer problem affected far more flights on the West Coast, but Hawkins had no estimate on how many were grounded.

Southwest, based in Dallas, conducts on average 3,400 flights a day, he said.