United grounded, NYSE closed over technical issues

United grounded, NYSE closed over technical issues

United Airlines grounded flights nationwide Wednesday morning as technology failed.

"It's definitely a wrench in the plans," said United passenger Kara Wilde, stuck at Denver International Airport. "We just want to get down and get started on our vacation."

The wrench was a technical glitch in the middle of the morning rush. United called it a "network connectivity issue." Planes were stuck on the tarmac, and passengers were stuck in line, as a result.

Clearance for takeoff came after a little more than an hour.

Fifteen miles from United's Newark hub, the New York Stock Exchange opened with high hopes, but technical problems soon paralyzed trading.

The feds were quick to point out it was an internal technical issue, not the result of a cyber breach.

"It appears from what we know at this stage that the malfunctions at United and at the Stock Exchange were not the result of any nefarious actor," said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

The Stock Exchange resumed trading after nearly four hours.

Finance professor at Texas Tech's Rawls College of Business Scott Hein said the impact will likely be minimal.

"There are many different exchanges that exist, some regional exchanges as well as the NASDAQ, so stocks can trade elsewhere when the New York Stock Exchange, which is a physical location, is closed," Hein said.

These technical problems are more common than many realize.

"On a normal day, there are systems that go down in different companies all the time individually, but the impact is not big enough for us to notice it," said Tech's Chief Information Officer Sam Segran. "When you have two large services that are impacted in that way, then it does get on the news."

Segran said companies should have a business continuity plan just in case.

"So that if the system goes down for 30 minutes, what are you going to do about it? What are the alternative ways of continuing to do business?"

When technology fails, we know the impact is rough.

"It does come with cost and consequences, but I think we do a job managing that," Hein said. "The technical advances are such that we don't want to go back to trading with paper."

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