Alaska Airlines computer snafu strands passengers at Sea-Tac [UPDATED with computer service restored]
Long lines and passenger confusion abound near the Alaska Airlines ticketing area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport this morning.
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Alaska Airlines statementNetwork outage
Effective October 8, 2012 Alaska Airlines is experiencing a systemwide software outage affecting check-in, flight operations, reservations. The outage is affecting the airlines' ability to check-in passengers and depart flights.
At 7:30 a.m. PST, Sprint, Alaska Airlines' Internet provider, went down after a fiber network cable was cut in Wisconsin. Sprint provides the airline with connectivity to SABRE, the system used for reservations, check-in and to purchase tickets.
The outage is preventing customers from checking in and has caused significant systemwide delays in all cities Alaska Airlines serves.
Alaska Airlines has implemented a manual process to check-in customers, however, this process will be slow and flights will depart late. If this problem persists, we will most likely cancel flights early this afternoon. No flights have been canceled yet (10 a.m.)
Alaska IT specialists are working to partially restore a connection to SABRE.
If a customer misses their flight, we'll do our best to reaccomodate them on the next available flight and will begin working to put passengers on other carriers, if necessary.
We will have more information for customers impacted by this issue posted to alaskaair.com later.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
The failure caused delays at the Seattle-based airline's entire network of 64 destinations, which also includes airports in Alaska, Mexico and Canada. Alaska Airlines has an average of 436 flights a day.
Some flights were canceled, including those to international destinations.
The airline said the problem was caused when a Sprint fiber optic network was cut twice, and Alaska Airlines lost its connection to the SABRE ticketing system.
Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis in Reston, Va., said one cut occurred at a construction site along railroad tracks between Chicago and Milwaukee, and the other was somewhere between Portland and Seattle.
If there had been only one disruption, the computer system would've been able to reroute the traffic, Davis said.
She said today's Alaska Airlines failure was caused by the combination of the two cuts. It also affected some other Sprint customers in parts of Washington, Oregon and California.
Peninsula Daily News photojournalist Keith Thorpe reported this morning that passenger lines were "serpentine" throughout the jammed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport terminal.
The technical problem left the airline unable to check in passengers starting at about 7:40 a.m., said Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan.
Last modified: October 08. 2012 1:17PM