Delta cancels hundreds more flights

Mergers have left airlines with hodgepodge of systems

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Delta Air Lines on Wednesday canceled more than 300 flights and upended thousands of travelers’ plans for the third day in a row after a power outage hit its computer systems.

Delta, the No. 2 U.S. airline by passenger traffic, said systems that allow customer service agents to process check-ins and dispatch aircraft are functioning normally. Most of Wednesday’s delays and cancellations are the result of flight crews being displaced or running up against maximum allowed work hours, it said.

Delta said 2,540 flights departed on Wednesday, with 70 percent of them within 30 minutes of their scheduled times.

“We’re in the final hours of bouncing back from the disruption,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s senior vice president for airport customer service and airline operations, said in an online posting.

The travel havoc at one of the world’s largest carriers has brought into focus the vulnerability of airlines’ technology infrastructure. Experts say mergers — and sometimes insufficient investment in back-end technology — have left airlines with a hodgepodge of systems.

Delta said problems arose when critical systems did not switch over to a backup source following a power surge and outage on Monday.

The airline still is investigating the cause, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in an online video post.

“I’m sorry we let you down. We’ll do everything that we can to make certain this does not happen again,” Bastian said in the video.

Frustrated travelers like Camille Davies-Mandel of Maplewood, N.J., faced multihour waits at airport lines on Wednesday.

“I have two kids with me, looking forward to getting to their cousins so they can seek out (characters) in Pokemon Go,” she said in a telephone interview after waiting three hours to check in at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Davies-Mandel was unable to download a boarding pass online and missed her flight.

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