US airport immigration computers go down temporarily: agency

WASHINGTON, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Immigration desk computers at various airports went down for about two hours on Monday, causing long lines for travelers entering the United States after year-end holidays, according to Customs and Border Protection and posts on social media.

The processing system outage began at about 7:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT) and was resolved about 9:30 EST (0230 GMT), the customs agency said in a statement. All airports were back on line after wait times for travelers that were longer than usual, it said.

"At this time, there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature," the agency said. It gave no explanation for the disruption and said travelers were processed using alternative procedures.

Travelers entering the United States from overseas posted photos on social media of long lines at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"No one has been getting past JFK Airport immigration for the last hour. Line is a few 100 deep. Seems like their system did completely go down. Happy New Year!" said Jessica Yang, a program manager at Microsoft, in a Twitter post.

Other airports, including Denver International Airport, also said they were affected. A similar computer outage occurred a year ago.

"Operations returning to normal as @CustomsBorder computer issue resolved. Issue affected other US airports. Thanks for your patience," Miami International Airport said in a Twitter post. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Paul Tait)

RELATED: 6 worst airports in the US

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6 worst airports in the US
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6 worst airports in the US

#6: Los Angeles International Airport

On a 1,000-point scale, travelers scored LAX a 702.

The airport is know for its long waits to get through security, immigration, and customs, according to the LA Times. Some travelers have also complained of poor signage, limited seating, unclean restrooms, and crowded terminals.

There are renovations planned for the airport, including a $1.6-billion midfield terminal that will add 12 gates for aircrafts. In February 2016, a revamped Terminal 2 also opened, which now features a mix of 20 new local and chain restaurants, more open space, and luxury retail.

Photo credit: Reuters

#5: Boston Logan Airport

On a 1,000-point scale, travelers scored Boston Logan Airport a 689.

The airport deals with extreme congestion: there were more than 5.5 million arrivals and departures in 2015, the Boston Globe reported. In the past, TSA lines have also stretched up to three hours. And the Globe notes that it's still not uncommon to have over five flights land within the same hour.

In 2016, the Massachusetts Transportation Authority approved a $45 million redevelopment plan, which includes expanding some terminals, for the airport.

Photo credit: Reuters

#4: Chicago O'Hare Airport

On a 1,000-point scale, travelers scored O'Hare a 689.

Due largely to weather, O'Hare can be a nightmare for flight delays — a major reason for its low score in the study. Thunderstorms and snow storms were relatively mild for O’Hare in 2016, which reduced flight delays compared to previous years, according to the researchers.

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#3: Philadelphia International Airport

On a 1,000-point scale, travelers scored Philadelphia International Airport a 688.

Philly's international airport's infrastructure continues to age, while the number of passengers that use it continues to grow. During 2016's spring break, nearly 6,800 passengers missed flights because of TSA checkpoint delays at Philadelphia International Airport, according to the local NBC station. The airport hired about 200 new workers each week last summer to try to make up for the gap.

Photo credit: Reuters

#2: Newark Liberty International Airport

On a 1,000-point scale, travelers scored Newark Airport a 669.

In 2016, the airport handled over 430,000 arrivals and departures, though many of them did not come or leave on-time. According to a report by the Department of Transportation, only 74% of flights avoided delays in 2016.

That year, United Airlines spent $120 million to redesign Newark's Terminal C, but the airport still needs many improvements.

Photo credit: Reuters

#1: New York LaGuardia Airport

On a 1,000-point scale, travelers scored Newark Airport a 649.

LaGuardia may be ugly, horribly congested, and not so efficient. (In 2016, 29% of LaGuardia flights had delays.)

But it's about to get a huge upgrade. In March 2016, the Port Authority of New York approved a $4 billion redevelopment plan for the aging airport. The first part of the new airport is expected to open in 2019, with the rest scheduled to debut 18 months after that.

Photo credit: Getty

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