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Southwest Airlines system issue causing delays across country

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Ubiquitin, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. Ubiquitin

    Ubiquitin Contributing Member
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    Tried booking a flight through Southwest, but couldn't. Turns out to be a much bigger issue.

    HOUSTON - Southwest Airlines planes are grounded at Hobby Airport and across the country on Wednesday.

    The planes will be grounded for an indefinite amount of time.

    A visit to the Southwest Airlines website Wednesday afternoon was turning up what the airline is calling a "waiting room" page where visitors weren't able to book flights.

    A message told visitors to not refresh browsers and that visitors would be automatically transferred to Southwest.com as soon as possible.

    On the airline's official Twitter page, Southwest tweeted: "We are aware and investigating current issues with our systems. We will keep you posted as we have more information to share."

    The airline also tweeted that it's "working hard on a fix" to the waiting room page problem.

    Southwest Airlines issued the following statement:

    "Southwest Airlines began experiencing intermittent performance issues earlier this afternoon with multiple technology systems as a result of 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. We apologize to our Customers whose travel plans are impacted. We have a Team of experts working diligently to resolve the technical issues and their efforts have systems gradually coming back online. We expect to continue our move toward a normal operation but believe it will take time. Updates will be posted on swamedia.com, our Southwest Facebook page and Twitter accounts."

    http://www.click2houston.com/news/southwest-airlines-system-issue-causing-delays-across-country
     
  2. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Rumor has it, in an attempt to get more users to use their mobile app, Southwest switched all systems to the underlying location-tracking technology of Pokemon Go.
     
  3. Ubiquitin

    Ubiquitin Contributing Member
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    Pokemon Go is down too.
     
  4. RasaqBoi

    RasaqBoi Member

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    ahh that is pretty crazy. What is the REAL issue? I'm flying Southwest next week.

    I think HeyP is correct.
     
  5. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    That's sad, Southwest has a grubby feel and some hostile flight attendants, but I thought those were trade offs for low cost and somewhat efficient operations.
     
  6. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    I work in the industry and have been part of one of these failures. In short, its usually because a data center that houses passenger information/reservations/etickets etc.. went down. If you temporarily lose access to eticket information, you literally can't fly planes. You can't officially collect revenue on a flight until an eticket is collected/redeemed so without etickets, the system grinds to a halt.

    I'm sure their IT vendor is doing the usual disaster recovery at the data center to get everything back online. They'll be back up by next week. And if this is really bad and lasts more than a day, expect some nice sales as a goodwill gesture to make it up to passengers.
     
  7. macalu

    macalu Contributing Member

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    flew in sunday. damn, glad i missed this cluster*****.
     
  8. Snow Villiers

    Snow Villiers Member

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    Feel bad for all the people trying to get to Comic Con.
     
  9. peleincubus

    peleincubus Member

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    I just went to the site and refreshed about 20 times. They bumped me off a flight a few years ago. That will show them.
     
  10. Supermac34

    Supermac34 President, Von Wafer Fan Club

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    Must be running the same kind of click ads that Clutchfans is running, bringing their system to a halt.
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    This came up at work today. I guess it sounds like their data center went down and their immediate backups and redundancies failed. They eventually got a backup system online but found data corruption in it so they've had to go in and slowly correct this. As a result, only some flights are back online with more to come as their DR engineers go through and try to fully recover everything.

    Also, before everyone blames Southwest, this could happen to everyone. Most airlines outsource their reservation systems to third party IT vendors who house and manage the data centers. This failure falls on their IT vendor and I'm sure Southwest will demand some hefty compensation from their IT provider for this.
     
  12. marky :)

    marky :) Member

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    Their website has been terrible. I've tried multiple times to have my password reset and their "change password" email is never delivered to my email. Couple friends have had this issue also and when you call them it's just as useless since they can't change the password for you. So they just spam the "change password" email but it never gets to me.
     
  13. LCAhmed

    LCAhmed Contributing Member

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    Hmm, sounds like I'll be looking for deals in the next few days. Weekend trip here I come.
     
  14. Sajan

    Sajan Member

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    Southwest's home grown system sucks in all aspects.

    Exhibit A: their mobile "app". wtf is that?
     
  15. ths balla

    ths balla Member

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    Was able to check-in to my flight this morning, leaving to Vegas tomorrow, this better not mess up my trip.
     
  16. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    It's ancient, no doubt. Here's the problem with Southwest.

    Southwest originally was a ticketless airline. If you remember, way back in the day you used to check in and they'd give you a plastic boarding card. This was in the era when almost every other airline would collect a coupon from you at the gate which functioned as your ticket stub. This may not seem like much of a difference but this difference literally changes your entire business model. Everything from distribution to operations to accounting all change in the airline world depending on the presence of ticketing.

    Well anyway, Southwest changed to a ticketed system eventually because they wanted access to airline operations built around the ticketing standard. However, they retrofitted their current IT systems rather than get a new system from scratch. They've since signed a contract to switch to a modern IT system but they still haven't fully implemented it yet because in the airline world, implementation of an IT system can take up to a decade. I believe today their international bookings are on the newer system while the domestic bookings are on the older one.

    Southwest's business model has largely remained unchanged because their IT system hasn't changed. They claim that they'll be cutover to the new system by the end of the year and I suspect that we'll start seeing some changes. My guess is that there will be some sort of cabin class (instead of the single cabin with no seat assignments). They might even offer paid seats (instead of paying for early boarding) and other ancillary sales. Their current IT system is so old that it literally doesn't support seat assignment at time of booking, you actually have to check in to get a seat (which is why they don't bother with seat assignments at all)

    Funny enough, Airtran was running a modern ticketless system when Southwest bought them out so Southwest had a chance to go back and re-implement ticketless travel but with modern features. I think it was a mistake on their part because they don't fully realize the benefits of ticketing with their current business model and ticketless systems tend to be far more advanced technologically.

    TLDR - Southwest uses really really old IT systems and the whole thing finally cracked. They're moving onto something modern by this year or next year.
     
  17. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    It's not homegrown. They still are tied to a third party IT system and are limited in terms of app design and function by that system. The airline world is way behind most other industries in terms of technology standards. The airline industry still uses non-internet based communication for bookings which should tell you how old the industry is as a whole.
     

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