Delta shutdown strands 1,000-plus at Narita airport in Japan

TOKYO – More than 1,000 people spent the night at Narita airport outside Tokyo because of the computer shutdown that halted Delta Air Lines flights worldwide.

Flights were resuming Tuesday morning at Narita, but Delta spokeswoman Hiroko Okada said some more delays were expected.

“What a nightmare,” said American Jeff Quigley, who managed two hours of sleep at the airport after his Monday afternoon flight to Manila was delayed until the next morning. “I fly four to eight times a month, and this is the worst thing I’ve experienced so far.”

Narita is the Asia-Pacific hub for Delta and several other U.S. airlines, so multiple flights arrive from the U.S. and then fan out to destinations in much of Asia.

The shutdown, triggered by a power outage at a Delta facility in the U.S., stranded many passengers in Japan. Six flights were cancelled, affecting 1,733 travellers, Okada said. Another 15 flights were delayed. The shutdown happened Monday afternoon, so many of the delays stretched overnight, forcing many more to find a place to sleep

Katsuaki Tomimura, a spokesman at Narita airport, said more than 1,000 stayed overnight in an arrival lobby at the airport.

The cancelled flights were two to Honolulu, and one each to New York, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Atlanta.