Nationwide computer issue plagues Southwest flights, website
30 flights canceled at OIA after Southwest computer outage
ORLANDO, Fla. – Southwest Airlines canceled 220 more flights Thursday morning, a day after the airline canceled up to 700 flights because of a computer system outage.
The Orlando International Airport reported 30 combined arrival and departure flights were canceled for the day on Thursday. Travelers should check with Southwest Airlines for schedule changes and updates, airport officials said.
The "intermittent performance issues" with multiple technology systems prompted all check-ins, baggage and ticketing to be done manually at OIA Wednesday, along with causing temporary ground stops for flights that hadn't left the gate yet.
"Flight delays across our network have resulted in 600-700 canceled and delayed flights," Southwest Airlines said in a statement Wednesday night. "Systems are gradually coming back online and we continue to move toward a normal operation."
The airline said in a statement on Thursday that employees, "worked around issues with primary systems and utilized back-up procedures to get as many customers and checked luggage to their intended destinations as we worked to fix the system."
"We sincerely apologize to our customers whose travel plans have been impacted," the airline said in a statement.
Pictures posted to social media Wednesday afternoon showed long lines wrapping in front of the Southwest kiosks at OIA, with people sitting down.
Dozens of fliers took to Twitter to complain about the delays. Some said they were aboard flights held on the runway.
"I love @SouthwestAir but I don't love wasting my PTO on the Tarmac," one user wrote.
Another traveler tweeted at Southwest Airlines, "hundreds of children who just visited the happiest place in world are very unhappy ..."
Southwest's website was also down, turning up what the airline is calling a "waiting room" page where visitors weren't able to book flights.
If you are seeing this image on the site you are in our waiting room. Don't refresh; we are working hard on a fix. pic.twitter.com/B1IDrDR2aC— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) July 20, 2016
"There were planes stuck behind me out in the tarmac and those people had it miserable," one traveler said.
Many tried to stay positive as Southwest Airlines' computer system crashed nationwide, leaving thousands of passengers stuck at the gate sitting on planes, some for nearly two hours.
"Everybody in Chicago for Southwest was down for a while," passenger Brent Hortze said. "Stretch our legs, our butts were hurting from sitting so long."
Ticket counters at OIA were backed up, some saying they had to wait 45 minutes just to get through the lines because the automated check-in and baggage systems were down.
"They were starting to print them and that went down, and then they were writing them by hand," traveler Kathleen Sprole said.
Heidi McMahon said she was dropping off her 9-year old grandson to fly alone, but they told her no Southwest planes were taking off.
"They told us to come back in 20 minutes and they would try to get him booked on another flight. The whole thing is down. They can't even get him rebooked," McMahon said.
Downdetector counted more than 3,000 social media posts complaining about the issues beginning around 2:30 p.m. ET.
"We expect to continue our move toward a normal operation but believe it will take time," Southwest officials said Wednesday afternoon.
Officials at OIA are urging travelers to arrive early for their flights.
"Flexible rebooking accommodation will be available to customers once our systems are fully functional," the airline said. "Customers who are booked to travel tomorrow, Thursday, July 21, should check flight status information on Southwest.com and plan to arrive to the airport early, as longer than typical lines are likely."
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