Worldwide airport chaos after computer check-in systems crash

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Airports around the world suffered major technical problems Thursday connected to a temporary failure of a system for checking in passengers and luggage.

Press handlers for Gatwick, Washington (DC) Reagan International Airport and Changi in Singapore confirmed some of the airlines operating on their runways had been affected by the outage.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: "A small number of airlines are now experiencing intermittent issues with their check-in systems at airports around the world - including at Heathrow".

A spokesperson for Groupe ADP, the operator and manager of over a dozen different airports in the Paris area, confirmed that airlines that used the Amadeus system were affected at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France's capital city.

"It's hit a few airlines' check-in systems which are down", the spokesman said.

In response to the BBC, Amadeus explained that a "network issue" caused the disruption.

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However, the issue was soon resolved.

The problems were traced back to one software vendor, Amadeus, and its Amadeus Altea check-in software.

The program, known as Altea and developed by a company called Amadeus, encountered problems as a result of what Amadeus called a "network issue".

Problems were reported at airports in Asia, Europe and the Americas, demonstrating the breadth of the software's use as well as the integrated nature of modern air travel.

Facing chaos and delays, many passengers took to social media to complain and tweeted pictures of the long lines at airports.

In May, a similar but much worse IT problem confined to British Airways caused three days of disruptions for the airline's customers at both London airports. Amadeus didn't elaborate on what the problem was, but the fact that one software provider could take down the check-in systems of hundreds of airlines shows how vulnerable the worldwide air travel system is to IT problems.

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