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Southwest Airlines experiences systems glitch

by Kelly MacNeil on March 2, 2011

Travelers who were flying with Southwest Airlines at during the early evening on Tuesday were in for an unpleasant surprise when they got to the counter for their tickets – a systems glitch had disabled the ticketing system, making it impossible to print boarding passes, according to CNN.

Instead of receiving computer-generated boarding passes, airline employees wrote out the slips by hand. This may have taken a while, as up to 600 flights could have been affected by the system malfunction. Phones and data processing were also affected.

"We had a temporary telecommunications systems outage that caused some customer service issues at our ticket counters throughout the system and we had to implement a manual system," said Ashley Dillon, spokeswoman for the airline, the news source reports. "It caused some short delays, less than an hour."

CBS reports that the outage may have lasted a little longer – approximately 90 minutes. The airline explained that the computers simply needed to be rebooted, similar to wireless internet glitches that are easily solved by unplugging a router for 10 seconds.

This statement may not have been assuring to all passengers, especially because a lack of proper data and boarding passes could be viewed as a significant security issue by some. There was also no information given about the reason for the systems outage, which leaves one to speculate whether it will happen again in the future.

However, the temporary shutdown came on the same day as the airline was installing its Rapid Rewards program, so the implementation may have had something to do with it, according to The Arizona Republic.

Many people have taken to Facebook and Twitter to complain about the delays and the negative feedback may affect SouthWest Airline's customer base.

"I won't fly them again," traveler Scott Wilber told the news source.

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