Power outage bottlenecks ticketing systems for some airlines, delays flights

Power outage bottlenecks ticketing systems for some airlines, delays flights
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POSTED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 1:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 1:04am

A power outage in Minneapolis disrupted air travelers throughout the United States on Tuesday as computerized reservations systems for several carriers went down.

The outage occurred at Navitaire, a reservation technology company with around 60 airlines as customers. It was not clear exactly how many airlines were affected or how many flights had been canceled because of reservations and ticketing issues, but the major North American airlines affected Tuesday night appeared to be AirTran, Spirit and Toronto, Canada-based Porter Airlines.

In a statement to CNN, Navitaire said the power failure occurred at a "third party's facility," and that the company was working to restore service as soon as possible.

CNN iReporter Joe Garcia was an AirTran passenger who was stranded in Memphis, Tennessee, on Tuesday night.

"We were just given hotel rooms for the night. It's a security issue," Garcia said.

"They claim it's a lightning strike that knocked their system down nationwide. They couldn't issue new boarding passes or clear anyone. Flights left delayed but only with people that had preprinted boarding passes. They won't make any guarantees that the system will be up tomorrow."

Here is what some of the airlines that use Navitaire told CNN Tuesday evening:

AirTran: "A power outage earlier today at our vendor's data facility that manages our airport computer systems is causing us to process customers manually at the airport for AirTran's operations," said Chris Mainz, spokesman for AirTran parent company Southwest Airlines.

"The power at the facility has been restored, and we are told that the AirTran system should be fully restored. ... We sincerely apologize to all of our customers impacted by this outage. Of course, we'll do our best to minimize delays and accommodate impacted customers as quickly as possible."

Spirit: "We are currently experiencing technical issues with our reservations system as a result of a power outage with our provider that is impacting multiple airlines. All flights are operating, and we have not had any cancellations as a result of this issue," said Misty Pinson, Spirit Airlines spokeswoman.

Porter Airlines: "We are experiencing systemwide network outages affecting our website, Call Centre, reservation system and flight planning," the company said on its website. The site listed 40 flights canceled for Tuesday evening and two for Wednesday. The site gave customers a number to call -- 1-888-619-8622 -- and added, "We are expecting a high volume of calls and thank you for your patience." 

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