Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Southwest Airlines Website Fails During Holiday Travel Week

Southwest Airlines Co.’s website failed Tuesday, blocking access to booking and flight check-in tools in a busy holiday travel week.

The carrier said it was making progress in fixing the disruption and was getting reports of successful transactions and online check-in attempts around 5:45 p.m. New York time. The failure affected all customers but didn’t have any impact on flights, the Dallas-based carrier said.

“Recovery is underway,” the company said in a e-mailed statement. “Our technology teams are in the process of restoring our website to full functionality.”

Southwest told passengers via Twitter to check in using airport kiosks or ticket counters. Customers hurt by the interruption and traveling through Dec. 21 could change their plans without paying a fee, the airline said. Messages to individual customers on Twitter suggested the website issues started by about 1:00 p.m.

The site was back online in at least some markets by the late afternoon.

Southwest was one of three U.S. airlines that suffered a similar disruption on Oct. 17 when technical difficulties with Sabre Corp. computer systems prevented reservations from being made on websites. Southwest also struggled in July after a router and its backup system failed, crashing the airline’s computer systems. The disruption lasted about 12 hours, and flight cancellations and delays continued for several days as the airline worked to get crews and planes in the right locations.

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