DALLAS (AP/CBS) — Travelers flying into the United States on Friday ran into long lines at major airports nationwide because of a temporary computer outage that affected the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
Airports warned travelers — both Americans returning home and foreign visitors — of delays, and some travelers tweeted photos and videos of huge lines.
One traveler at Boston’s Logan Airport told WBZ she waited in customs for four hours after a 12-hour flight from China.
A CBP spokeswoman said the systems were running again by early evening on the East Coast.
“It looked like everybody was trying to handle the chaos as best they can,” said Jacques Erasmus, who spent more than an hour in customs at Logan Airport. “There was no air conditioning and I felt bad for anyone with children and toddlers.”
The agency didn’t precisely describe the breakdown, but the spokeswoman said there was “no indication of any nefarious activity.” She said officers were able to access security-related databases and maintain security standards while screening people manually.
Rebekah Tromble, an associate professor at George Washington University, tweeted a video clip in which she panned over the arrival hall at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia. She estimated there were at least 5,000 people packed into the hall.
Tromble was asked if she could see whether customs agents were screening people manually.
“It’s not clear from my vantage point. I’m still too far back in line,” she answered.
Airports in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York and elsewhere notified travelers of potential delays at the beginning of one of the last weekends of the summer vacation season.
The port authority that operates New York’s JFK Airport and the airport in Newark, New Jersey, said additional staff and police officers monitored situation and helped where needed. Los Angeles International Airport said it sent staffers to CBP areas to help direct travelers.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)