Customs System Outage Delays Passengers Across The Country

by Daniel McCarthy
Customs System Outage Delays Passengers Across The Country

The outage caused Global Entry systems to go down on Monday. Photo: CBP.

Travelers entering the United States were facing long lines and delays at airports around the country on Monday, after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system outage.  

According to reports, the outages started at around 5 p.m. EST at a number of airports including Washington Dulles International Airport, Miami International Airport and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  

CBP said that all airports were back on line after the outage at about 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday night and that there was “no indication the disruption was malicious in nature.”  

“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,” it said in a statement. 

The outages caused passport control lines to come to a standstill, stranding thousands of passengers—some for hours—as Customs and Border Protection rushed to get the system back up.  

Though officers at checkpoints still had access to national security databases, travelers said that officers could not accept Global Entry or mobile passports.  

And while the outages were short in some cases—Atlanta’s CBP public affairs officer Robert Brisley said Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s outage lasted only an hour—they caused backups that airports were working to recover from into Monday night.  

On Tuesday, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow released a statement about the outage, saying that it was "not surprising" and calling for an update to CBP technology.

"The U.S. customs and entry process is already notorious for dissuading long-haul visitors from dealing with the hassle of coming here, and lost inbound travelers means lost export dollars at a time when our economy can ill afford that," he said. "A modern system is not only more efficient, but more secure, and both of those are very worthy priorities in the current security and economic environment."

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