Several flights in and out of Bellingham International Airport were significantly delayed Monday, Oct. 8, because of Alaska Airlines' computer trouble.
The 10 a.m. Alaska flight to Las Vegas didnt depart until after 1:30 p.m. The inbound flight, scheduled to leave Vegas at 11:40 a.m., didnt depart until after 2 p.m.
The scheduled 9:34 a.m. and 12:58 p.m. flights to SeaTac airport from Bellingham were delayed three hours. Flights from SeaTac to Bellingham did slightly better, with only one flight significantly delayed, according to the Alaska Airlines website.
The airline blamed the problem on a Sprint data connection failure, which took down the system used to check in passengers. It was fixed by mid-afternoon, but many flights remained delayed across the country.
Alaska could only apologize and ask for patience, said spokeswoman Bobbie Egan. An announcement in the Sea-Tac terminal said passengers could rebook at no charge.
In a tweet earlier this morning, Alaska Airlines said: "Our data connection partner, Sprint, is experiencing a network outage which is affecting our ability to check-in customers."
The airline's Facebook page had a bit more detail on the situation: "At 7:30 a.m. PST, Sprint, Alaska Airlines' Internet provider, went down after a fiber network cable was cut in the Midwest. Sprint provides us with connectivity to Sabre, the system used for reservations, check-in and to purchase tickets. The outage is preventing customers from checking in and is causing delays systemwide."
The airline's Facebook page also says: "We have implemented a manual process to check in customers, however, this process will be slow and flights will depart late. If you miss a flight, we will do our best to reaccommodate you on the next available flight and will begin putting customers on other carriers if necessary."
One commenter on the Facebook page, Douglas McCoy, had this to say: "No excuse! I have been checked in since 6:30 I see my [plane] yet nothing taking off. Have a backup plan!"
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is the seventh-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic and is the dominant West Coast air carrier. It has an average of 436 flights a day at 64 destinations.
Alaska and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, are owned by Alaska Air Group.
The Bellingham Herald contributed to this story.