Thousands of inbound international travelers were stuck behind customs screening stations for hours across the country as a technical glitch affected the U.S. Customs and Border Protection operating system forcing international travelers arriving in airports to stand in insanely long queues.
The outage lasted from about 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
"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," said spokesman Daniel Hetlage.
Travelers were delayed at airports customs in Atlanta, Miami and Salt Lake City.
While the agency tried to get the system back online, CBP officers processed international travelers manually.
Miami travelers had it the worst.
“The outage affected passengers on more than 30 flights into Miami International Airport,” said Suzy Trutie. Airport officials said it would take extra time to for CBP officers to process passengers.
Passengers posted images and videos on Twitter of frustrated people waiting in lines:
"Delta had us all line up after we landed and it took a while before customs was even able to find us a place where we could wait because the airport is so small. I would not have had any idea of what was going on if my cousin did not text me," said Jennifer Powers-Johnson, who was returning from London at Salt Lake City International Airport.
At San Francisco Airport, college student Chinedu Elendu was returning from family vacation in Nigeria. The outage held him up for about an hour and a half.
"When we got to the place in customs where you scan your passport, my brother and sister scanned theirs and got through fine. Mine did not scan and I had to get in a different line. That was the line that took so long," Elendu said.
Rob Brisley, spokesman from the Department of Homeland Security's CBP agency, said the cause of the outage was still “being evaluated” and CBP have yet to give an official statement on the incident and what caused it.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Yuri Gripas