Network outage causes Alaska Air delays, cancellations

Published On: Oct 09 2012 09:35:49 AM PDT   Updated On: Oct 08 2012 09:45:05 PM PDT
Alaska Airlines network outage
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A computer problem caused significant delays Monday morning for all Alaska Airlines flights, according to company officials.

A cut Sprint fiber cable in Wisconsin stranded hundreds of people at Spokane International Airport and many more airports across the country for much of the day. The severed Sprint line brought down the airline's reservation, check-in and purchase system across the country.

People traveling to places like France, California and Alaska spent the first leg of their journey in the terminal at the Spokane International Airport, many spending hours waiting, and in some cases rebooking, a canceled flight.

For passenger Brian Hodge and his daughter what they found wasn't a window or aisle seat but a floor seat. Their time sitting on the floor was equal to the time it would have taken them to fly to Seattle. The Hodges were ultimately flying back home to Pennsylvania.

"They can't get any planes off the ground and they can't rebook us," said Hodge.

Passengers like Susan Lind were told they were out of luck.

"They said if you want to get out today you might want to rent a car, share it with somebody. So we're looking at that option right now," said Lind.

Distractions like cell phones, computers and super-heroes helped pass the time.

"Who is that?" said Kristin Morris to her son Landon as he played with his action figures. "It's frustrating but little ones doing good, we're just being patient and rolling with it."

Alaska Airlines representatives did their part updating people on what was and what wasn't happening.

"It's not that everything is broken and the whole world is crumbling and zombies are coming out, ok? But we have not got the message saying Go," one representative called over the intercom.

Two flights were canceled from Spokane to Seattle and several were delayed but for the most it was missed connecting flights that will cause the most problems.

"Behind schedule trying to get to Fairbanks,Alaska and I'm going to get there before it snows," said Mary Franklin.

At the end most people were happy to just get a seat on something.

"We're telling stories and just, we make big deals out of little things," Hodge saud.

Alaska Airlines said things were fixed around 1 P.M. Monday with computer systems slowing coming back online. Passengers are still advised to check their flights for cancellations or delays before heading to the airport.

Spokane International Airport spokesman Todd Woodard said Monday morning that so far there have been three delays and two canceled departures as a result of the network outage.

The Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is the seventh-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic and is the dominant U.S. West Coast air carrier. It has an average of 436 flights a day at 64 destinations.

Alaska and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, are owned by Alaska Air Group.