Temporary U.S. Customs Outage Causes Delays, Chaos at Airports

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And you thought your holiday hangover was rough.

Monday night, a temporary computer shutdown of U.S. Customs and Border Protection systems at airports across the country led to major headaches for travelers nationwide.

People returning home from the New Year’s holiday weekend were being processed at international terminals by hand at some airports, resulting in long lines and short tempers. Travelers reported issues in Chicago, Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Miami and Atlanta, among others.The outage lasted for four hours, the Customs agency said in a statement late Monday, before the system was up and running again.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection experienced a temporary outage with its processing systems at various airports today beginning at 5 p.m. EST and ending at approximately 9 p.m. EST. All airports are currently back on line,” the agency said. “CBP took immediate action to address the issue and CBP officers continued to process international travelers using alternative procedures at airports experiencing the disruption. Travelers at some ports of entry experienced longer than usual wait times as CBP officers processed travelers as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest levels of security.

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

Even though the outage was resolved, the Customs backups were likely to take awhile to ease.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Susan Miller