Alaska Airlines Cancels Flights After Outage

Alaska Airlines and its Horizon Air affiliate canceled 152 flights Saturday because of a computer outage, affecting at least 12,000 customers, officials said. The presidents of both airlines said in a joint video on YouTube that the system used for flight planning failed, causing the cancellations.

Alaska Airlines plane comes in for a landing as another taxis for takeoff at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Alaska Airlines and its Horizon Air affiliate are canceling dozens of flights because their computer system failed. Company spokesman Paul McElroy says the two airlines canceled 60 flights by late Saturday morning, March 26, 2011, six hours after the outage started.

Alaska Airlines and its Horizon Air affiliate canceled 152 flights Saturday because of a computer outage, affecting at least 12,000 customers, officials said.

The presidents of both airlines said in a joint video on YouTube that the system used for flight planning failed, causing the cancellations.

"A transformer blew and that took down the central computer system for both Alaska and Horizon" that's used to prepare flight plans, Alaska President Brad Tilden said during the two-minute statement released late in the afternoon.

Company spokesman Paul McElroy said late Saturday night that a total of 152 flight were canceled, representing about 18 percent of the airlines' combined schedule. He said at least 12,000 customers were affected.

Other flights were delayed, and customers had trouble getting flight-status updates on the airlines' website because of the outage, McElroy said.

Both Tilden and Horizon President Glen Johnson apologized for the disruption. Johnson said stranded passengers would be rebooked on later planes or put on other airlines. The company said will not be charged a flight-change fee.

McElroy said the airlines were working on the problem throughout the day. Crews partially restored the system, but held off on the work needed for a full restoration until later in the evening when the flight load was lower, McElroy said.

"At this point, we hope that our operations will be normal" Sunday morning, he told the Associated Press.

Alaska Airlines uses versions of the Boeing 737 with roughly 124 to 172 seats, according to airline seating chart websites. Horizon uses smaller turboprop planes.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines flies to cities in the U.S., focusing on the West Coast, and to Canada and Mexico. Alaska and Horizon are owned by Alaska Air Group Inc.

AP