Nationwide Customs computer outage causes major New Year’s delays at U.S. airports


International travelers returning to the U.S. on New Year’s Day faced massive frustration nationwide as the computer systems operated by Customs and Border Protection failed.  Long lines and delays were report from New York To Denver to Miami. The New Year’s Day disruption is oddly similar to one that occurred last year on Jan. 2 — also the first Monday of the year.

While Customs said its systems were restored by about 10 p.m., airports warned passengers to expect delays tonight. There was no indication the disruption was caused by malicious activity, but that was small comfort to travelers who were stuck waiting to get back into the country.

“All airports are back on line after a temporary outage of #CBP’s processing systems,” the agency said in a Tweet. “During the disruption, CBP had access to national security-related databases and all travelers were screened according to security standards. No indication the disruption was malicious in nature.”

Several airports Tweeted out warnings to passengers, like this one, from Dallas-Fort Worth: “Good evening, there is a system issue affecting processing times for customs. The customs agents are working to get everyone screened and through customs as quickly as possible. Your patience is appreciated.”

With many Americans returning to work after the holidays on Tuesday, the Jan. 1 delays fueled even bigger frustration.

“Just landed back in the US and I’m stuck in the customs line because the border patrol servers are down nationwide,” wrote Pearse Adams.

“30 minutes. The line to just process special assistance is wrapped around the corner. The border patrol and customs system is apparently still down,” wrote Megan Shepard.

“Another look at a brutal 2018 start at #Miami’s airport. Passport system is down according to people in line,” tweeted journalist Chris Stewart, along with a video of long lines. 

This story will be updated with more information when available.

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About Bob Sullivan 1289 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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