You may have read about a slew of airline errors in the news lately, ranging from downright terrifying to simply puzzling (like the British Airways flight that landed in a city 500 miles from its original destination). One of the mishaps was a computer outage in the Sabre program that caused delays across multiple airlines and pandemonium for almost an hour. How did this happen and who did it effect? We have all of the answers to your questions in this helpful guide.
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What is the Sabre system?
Sabre is a travel reservation system that is used by hundreds of airlines (and thousands of hotels) around the world. It controls reservations from inception all the way to the check-in process. When it went down, airlines and guests couldn’t complete the check-in process, causing delays nation-wide.
Who and what did it affect?
Passengers on flights across multiple major airlines such as Jet Blue, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines were all irritated by extra hassle from those airlines on Tuesday, March 26th. Guests were unable to check-in online or have their boarding passes printed at the airport for roughly 40 minutes. Since reservations and ticket boarding passes were unable to be issued, all affected flights were grounded until the issue could be resolved.
How did this happen?
Unfortunately, no details have been released about what caused the computer problem. A spokesperson for Sabre blamed a “system issue,” but said nothing further. Luckily, no flights were canceled because of the mishap. There were only delays.
Will it happen again?
Considering that this isn’t the first time the Sabre system has failed, and there haven’t been any concrete answers as to how it happened, it’s entirely possible this problem could repeat itself in the future. On top of reporting a data breach in 2017, the Sabre system also had a glitch back in 2013, causing it to malfunction for over 2 hours. The incidents are far apart and resolved within a reasonable amount of time. Errant technical glitch shouldn’t dissuade you from booking with any of the airlines that utilize the Sabre system.
Why wasn’t everyone affected?
Sabre is one of a few systems on the market that handle airline reservations, so not all airlines were affected by this program failure. Companies like United Airlines, Southwest, & Delta use a different program that reported no such outage.