Northwest Plans Full Schedule, Technicians Work to Fix Bug

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Northwest Airlines Corp. planned to fly a full schedule Wednesday as technicians continued to work through a computer a glitch that caused the delay of nearly 300 flights on Tuesday.

Northwest Spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said Wednesday the airline's information technology department was continuing to make progress on restoring the airline's computer system. In the meantime, backup systems were being used.

However, he said there already had been some flight delays as of midmorning Wednesday.

Of Northwest's 1,364 scheduled flights Tuesday, about 285 departures were delayed an average of 21 minutes as result of the computer problem, he said. He said Detroit was the most seriously affected of its three U.S. hubs. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Memphis, Tenn., experienced fewer delays. The departure delays included international flights.

A few Airlink flights, operated by Pinnacle Airlines and Mesaba Airlines, were canceled, he said. No Northwest flights were canceled over the issue.

Pinnacle and Mesaba were also expected to operate full schedules on Wednesday, Ebenhoch said. However, Northwest would not allow unaccompanied minors on flights scheduled before 1 p.m., he said.

The problem began Tuesday afternoon and was centered in a computer system that enables communication between the Worldspan global distribution system and some Northwest airport computer systems, Northwest said.

The system began gradually returning to normal about 45 minutes later but was still operating at limited capacity late Tuesday, Ebenhoch said.

Northwest was encouraging customers to check in and obtain their boarding passes over the Internet and check their flight status online.

No flights had been delayed or canceled early Wednesday morning at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, said Steve Gordon, president of Local 141 of the International Association of Machinists, which represents ticket agents at the Northwest hub.

Traffic was slightly busier than normal because of the number of passengers unable to fly out of Detroit on Tuesday. Otherwise, Gordon said: "It's a normal day for us. Everything this morning's back on track."

The airline issued a waiver allowing customers to change their travel plans without penalty. Customers with confirmed tickets for travel scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday may reschedule their travel to begin on or before August 1 without penalty or administrative fees.