On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines said it was working to restore normal operations after a technology-related issue disrupted flights for the second day in a row.
As of midafternoon, the nation’s fourth-largest airline had cancelled about 500 flights and delayed nearly 1,300 others, according to tracking service FlightAware. As a result of the cancellations and delays, about half of Southwest’s scheduled flights for the day were cancelled or delayed.
The Federal Aviation Administration held up all Southwest departures for about 45 minutes while the company worked to fix a computer issue, an agency spokeswoman said.
A spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest said a problem with connectivity of the airline’s technology systems started around midday Tuesday.
“Southwest is in the process of resuming normal operations after a brief pause in our flight activity resulting from intermittent performance issues with our network connectivity Tuesday afternoon,” the spokesman, Dan Landson, said in an email.
He said crews were working to limit flight disruptions and urged customers to check their flight status on Southwest’s website or seek help from the airline’s airport agents.
On Monday night, problems with a third-party weather data provider caused Southwest to delay about 1,500 flights. Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines reported separate technical problems that affected customers trying to book flights. Some Delta customers complained on Twitter that only first-class seats appeared for purchase on the airline’s website.
Airline technology systems are vulnerable to glitches and outages that sometimes snarl thousands of flights. In the last few years, a router failure crippled Southwest for days and Delta employees at one airport dragged out an old dot-matrix printer to make boarding passes. Airlines use huge, complicated IT systems that do everything from help operate flights to running mobile apps, and they are often overlaid with new programs.