Southwest tech issues cause problems for DC area airport passengers - even former MD Gov. O'Malley

- At 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday, Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is usually quiet. But not this Thursday - and definitely not if you were trying to fly Southwest.

Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights across the country were delayed or canceled on Wednesday after computer problems prevented many travelers from checking in or boarding flights. On Thursday morning, the residual delays continued.

Southwest began having intermittent problems Wednesday with several computer systems after an outage around 3 p.m. Eastern time.

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The airline briefly held planes at their gates, however, even after flights started moving again, delays piled up over the next several hours.

For about three hours, visitors to couldn't buy tickets, check in for flights, or check their flight's status. The site began working again by late afternoon and then crashed again.

Shortly before 11p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, Southwest said the outages had caused 600 to 700 canceled and delayed flights. Tracking service FlightStats Inc. put the numbers much higher - 400 cancelations and 2,000 delays.

Passengers had no choice Thursday morning but to wait in long lines to straighten out their flight issues with Southwest. FOX 5 cameras even spotted former Maryland Governor, and former presidential candidate, Martin O'Malley. O'Malley told FOX 5’s Anjali Hemphill that he was flying to the west coast and was experiencing delays.

Another passenger heading to the west coast told Hemphill he was just going to go home after delays kept him waiting much of the morning. "We’re going to San Francisco and we’re coming back on Saturday. So we probably lost a day of our vacation by getting involved in this."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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