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Computer System Shuts Down At JFK Terminal 7, Passengers Say Airline Staff Handwriting Boarding Passes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- It was a holiday travel headache for many passengers at John F. Kennedy Airport after a computer outage forced delays and cancellations for hundreds on Sunday.

Passengers inside Terminal 7 said the crowded mess seen late Sunday evening was actually an improvement since many of them arrived earlier for their international flights, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

"It's been pretty packed. And pretty cramped and pretty unsafe at times," passenger Mike Priestley said.

Priestley was supposed to fly British Airways to London at 9:55 p.m. He was still grounded over an hour later.

"Apparently there's been a complete failure of the computer system so they're having to process all the customers manually," he said.

And by manually, passengers said airline staff are literally handwriting boarding passes and baggage claim tickets.

"They've had to call everyone individually so it's quite disappointing," passenger Andrea Pinna said.

"They keep naming announcements but you can't hear... so we're just doing what everyone else is doing," passenger Katherine Hicks said.

Several airlines including British Airways, Iberia, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific fly out of Terminal 7. Cathay Pacific gave passengers letters explaining that the computer boarding system is down due to a failure by Verizon.

Port Authority said the system crashed around 4 p.m. and since then hundreds of passengers have been cramming into the terminal and lining up outside for word on when they'll finally be able to board their flights.

"There's been pretty poor customer service. There's been no public announcements to any of the customers waiting in there. The staff seems overwhelmed for as long as we've been here which is now pushing 5 hours," Priestly added.

"It's one of those things isn't it? What can you do? Can't keep moaning 'cause it isn't going to get you anywhere so you might as well go with the flow," passenger Lucy Polson said.

As of 11 p.m., there were still long lines and no word on when the server would be up and running. Port Authority said TSA was not affected by the outage.

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