Computer outage briefly grounds flights on several airlines

Travelers on several airlines had trouble checking in for flights and waited out delays Friday after a computer outage at a company that runs airline technology systems.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America confirmed that a technology glitch briefly interrupted their operations. The problems seemed to have been fixed by midday, and airlines reported that flights had resumed.

The airlines blamed their difficulties on a breakdown in systems operated by Sabre Corp., a Texas company that provides software and other technology services to airlines and hotels.

A Sabre spokeswoman said the systems were running again by early Friday afternoon. She said she did not know the cause of the breakdown.

Passengers at several big airports went on social media to complain about flight delays.

American said that the outage caused scattered delays but no canceled flights. Alaska said that 15 flights were delayed by up to 15 minutes. Southwest said the outage briefly prevented bookings, ticket changes and use of mobile boarding passes.

United Airlines said its flights were not affected, and Delta Air Lines said it does not use Sabre.

On Oct. 17, a problem at Sabre prevented travelers from booking trips on Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America.

Technology outages have struck almost all the airlines at one point or another over the past two years. Airlines rely heavily on overlapping computer programs to handle everything from selling tickets to checking weight calculations before takeoff. When outages occur, they often lead to cascading delays that can linger for hours.

Friday's glitch didn't affect airline stocks—most gained ground. Sabre shares rose 39 cents to $24.94, but they have still lost 15 percent in the last year.


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Citation: Computer outage briefly grounds flights on several airlines (2016, November 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-11-outage-briefly-grounds-flights-airlines.html
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