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Computer glitch leads to big delays for international travelers at Sea-Tac Monday

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SEATTLE -- A massive computer glitch at Customs and Border Protection was to blame for long delays for international travelers at airports all over the country on New Year's Day, including Seattle-Tacoma, JFK Airport, Miami and Denver International Airports.

CBP officials said agents processed international travelers using alternative procedures during the technology disruption.

CBP said the system came back online after two hours but the backlog of people made the wait longer and their nights had already been disrupted.

“10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, one and a half hours, then they said ok 40 people can go down, then we waited another hour,” said passenger Mary Brazeau who was delayed after arriving into Seattle from London. “It was terrible, disappointing. I would think being from the US, they would have a back-up plan when something like that goes wrong.”

The agency sent KOMO News this statement:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection experienced a temporary outage with its processing systems at various airports today beginning at 7:30 pm (EST) and ending approximately 9:30 pm (EST). All airports are currently back on line.

CBP took immediate action to address the technology disruption. CBP officers continued to process international travelers using alternative procedures at affected airports. Travelers at some ports of entry experienced longer than usual wait times as CBP officers processed travelers as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest levels of security.

During the technology disruption, CBP had access to national security-related databases and all travelers were screened according to security standards. At this time, there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature.”

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