Travelers at New York City-area airports suffered through extra chaos on Wednesday morning after a Federal Aviation Administration computer system went down, temporarily halting all takeoffs.
Departures at Newark, JFK and LaGuardia airports — and runways nationwide — stopped from about 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. as the FAA worked furiously to reboot its Notice to Air Missions system, which is used to alert pilots.
New Yorkers mostly took the delay in stride.
Steve Chiavarone, 39, who was supposed to board a 6:30 a.m. flight headed to Atlanta from Newark Airport, said someone from United Airlines came out and explained the situation right before boarding.
The flight crew told passengers to "settle in and get comfortable,” Chiavarone said.
“Restaurants are open, bathrooms are available, so it’s not as bad as it could be,” he said, adding that the airline was offering free snacks and water.
Just before 9 a.m., the FAA said it had lifted the ground stop, but the hourslong disruption caused residual delays and cancellations.
Shortly after flights resumed at the LaGuardia Airport terminal, passengers scrambled for details about their upcoming flights.
Mike O’Connor said his 1 p.m. American Airlines flight to Charlotte was canceled but he’d manage to rebook an earlier flight.
“I’m feeling lucky right now,” O’Connor said.
Another American Airlines passenger, Benjamin Fashola, 24, said his flight was also canceled. He was also booked on another flight, but then that one got delayed.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “Patience is a tool we’re going to use right now because at the end that’s all we can do is be patient.”
There were about 5,900 flight delays and 2,340 cancellations in the U.S. just before 11 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the aviation website FlightAware.
The FAA said that those disruptions should clear throughout the day as the airlines catch up.
"Normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually across the U.S. following an overnight outage to the Notice to Air Missions system that provides safety info to flight crews," the agency tweeted. "The ground stop has been lifted. We continue to look into the cause of the initial problem."
President Joe Biden has instructed the Department of Transportation to investigate the outage, according to the Associated Press.