TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The FAA took the extreme step early Wednesday morning of grounding all departing flights for every airline across the country.

The FAA said a critical system that provides pre-flight information for pilots went down, causing them to stop all domestic flights. The decision impacted travelers across the country.

“We were freaking out, we were sitting in our Airbnb and we were worried because we have work tomorrow, I have to get back to college,” said Samantha Belleair whose flight from Tampa International Airport was among the thousands of flights impacted.

Stephanie Crews and a co-worker flew into Tampa from Washington D.C., but not before their flight was delayed for hours.

“I mean they did everything that they could at the ground station. They made it very clear that it had to be all airlines that were grounded by this, but it’s a little scary to think that a communication system like that could go out,” Crews said.

The FAA said it does not appear the system outage was caused by an outside cyber-attack.

Retired Airline Pilot and safety expert John Cox said it will now be up to the FAA to determine exactly what went wrong.

“They will look at the architecture of the software. They will look at the servers, the hardware itself and they will look at, does that need to be upgraded, it has been over the years but does that need to be brought forward,” Cox said.