Reservation System Outage Causes Headaches for Several Airlines

By Dan Collins on 11 September 2012
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An American Airlines Super 80 at LaGuardia

An American Airlines Super 80 at LaGuardia

An outage of the Sabre airline reservation system caused problems for passengers on numerous airlines around the world on Tuesday. The outage impacted several airlines including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue. Sabre, created by American Airlines in the 1960s, is now a separate company and is widely used throughout the travel industry.

According to passenger Jessica Moore, American Airlines agents at Savannah/Hilton Head International airport began issuing hand-written boarding cards and bag tags after the outage struck, but TSA officials refused to allow these passengers past the security checkpoint entry to the secure area of the terminal. Passengers at that airport had to wait until Sabre was back online in order to proceed.  According to American Airlines’ official Twitter account, the system was restored just after noon Eastern time.

Two weeks ago, United Airlines’ reservations system, known as Shares, was down for the better part of a day.  In addition to making reservations, computerized reservation systems such as Sabre and Shares maintain a current passenger manifest and must communicate this information to the FAA and Department of Homeland Security prior to a flight’s departure.

The problem was traced to Sabre, the operator of the reservation system and at approximately 1:10 p.m. numerous passengers were reporting via Twitter and other social outlets that the systems were once again down. Several posted photos of long lines at ticket counters in Atlanta.

While flights initially impacted by the outage this morning have been able to take off, the outage has the potential to cause further delays as the day continues.

(Photo: Jonathan Spira)


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