Southwest Airlines outage delays flights

Southwest suffers technology outage; more than 600 flights delayed

By Chris Parenteau - Reporter, David Koenig, Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Southwest Airlines customers in Jacksonville and across the nation experienced delays Wednesday due to what the airline called a "systems outage."

Officials at Jacksonville International Airport say flights in and out of Jacksonville were impacted, but the ground stop was lifted about 5 p.m.

Southwest began having intermittent problems with several systems after an outage.

"We are now managing flight delays across our system, with a temporary ground stop in place for those flights that have not left the gate," spokesman Brad Hawkins said in an emailed statement.

For about three hours, visitors to Southwest.com couldn't buy tickets, check in for flights, or check their flight's status. The site appeared to be working again by late afternoon.

Hawkins said that systems were gradually coming back, but that it might take time before the airline could resume normal operations.

Anxious customers tweeted to Southwest that they could not check in for flights.

By 9 p.m., Southwest had canceled 17 flights, more than any other U.S. carrier, and delayed more than 600, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.

Airlines have sprawling, overlapping and complicated technology systems, and even brief outages can cause thousands of passengers to be stranded for hours.

Last October, an outage caused about 800 Southwest flights to be delayed and forced employees to issue tickets and boarding passes by hand. The airline blamed a software application, and it recovered in about a day. United Airlines and American Airlines both had computer problems last summer but fixed the problems within a day.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. carries more passengers within the United States than any airline. However, it is far smaller than American, Delta and United when international traffic is included.

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