Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Southwest, JetBlue Say Sabre Outage Blocks Flights Bookings

  • Virgin America also affected as Sabre works to find solution
  • Disruption is latest in a string that’s plagued U.S. airlines

Southwest Airlines Co., JetBlue Airways Corp. and Virgin America Inc. said technical difficulties with Sabre Corp. computer systems were preventing customers from booking flights on their websites.

Passengers couldn’t reserve domestic flights but could still check in for existing bookings, Southwest said in a Twitter post, blaming the disruption on a Sabre pricing system. Airport operations and international flights weren’t affected, the airline said. JetBlue said by e-mail that the problem also blocked bookings via its mobile app and by phone. A spokesman for Virgin America said customers attempting to check in for flights were affected.

“We are aware of an issue that is affecting some of our customers,” Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for Sabre, a technology services provider to the travel industry, said by e-mail. “We apologize and are working urgently towards a resolution.”

The issue is the latest in a series of technical disruptions that have plagued U.S. carriers this year. A computer failure at Delta Air Lines Inc. in August caused 2,300 flight cancellations and reduced pretax income by about $150 million. Southwest struggled in July after an old router and its backup system failed, crashing the carrier’s computer systems. While those computers were restored about 12 hours later, flight cancellations and delays continued for several days as Southwest attempted to get crews and planes in the right locations.

The Sabre-related issue on Monday began at about 6 p.m. New York time and there was no estimated time for it to be fixed, Southwest said.

Sabre, based in Southlake, Texas, provides a variety of technology services and software for airlines that range from reservations to flight schedules.

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