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Alaska/Horizon Computer Outage – 150 Flights Cxld  
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25754 posts, RR: 50
Posted (3 years 7 months 12 hours ago) and read 4324 times:

Sounds like the operation was fun on Saturday into Sunday.

Apparently the problem arose when a backup power-system upgrade was being installed. Whoops   

Quote:
Alaska Air Computer Glitch Disrupts Flights

Alaska Air Group Inc. said a computer system used to prepare flight plans went down early Saturday morning and caused 150 flight cancellations and more departure delays for its Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air subsidiaries before the system was restored overnight Saturday.

The Seattle-based company said information-technology specialists went to work to repair the system after it crashed at 3 a.m. Pacific time Saturday. The airlines said they were working to accommodate passengers on other carriers and planned to add additional flights once the system was back in operation.

By late Saturday night, the computer system was fully operational, the company said, but its website warned there were long wait times to reach reservations agents. Moreover, about a dozen flights were delayed Sunday due to crew-scheduling issues.


Story:
http ://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704308904576226772046928188.html


From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinewedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5929 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 4063 times:
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You make it sound like Alaska IT is at fault here. But you neglect to mention that the primary power transformer blew at 3AM...shutting down their computer system. Their back-up system was only able to reboot certain, limited systems until the main power system was repaired.

Just be glad it happened on a Saturday and part of Sunday, instead of a Monday. This could have also happened to major airline like Southwest, AA or CO.

Hopefully this won't happen to AS again anytime soon.


User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5671 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 9 hours ago) and read 4002 times:

Quoting wedgetail737 (Reply 1):
This could have also happened to major airline like Southwest, AA or CO.

Similar events happened at Mesa Airlines a few months ago, and US last year (although that outage only affected flights departing PHX).

Quoting wedgetail737 (Reply 1):


Hopefully this won't happen to AS again anytime soon.

I would hope that it wouldn't ever happen to any airline. Trust me when I say it sucks.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25754 posts, RR: 50
Reply 3, posted (3 years 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 3980 times:

Where did I say it was Alaska's fault?

The linked WSJ article simply states the cause as

"The problem arose when a backup power-system upgrade was being installed, and transformer blew and that took down the central computer system for both Alaska and Horizon," Alaska Air President Brad Tilden said in a video statement".



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinewedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5929 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (3 years 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 3941 times:
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Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
Apparently the problem arose when a backup power-system upgrade was being installed. Whoops

When you abbreviated the article sentence like the one above, it insinuated that AS screwed up.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 3):
"The problem arose when a backup power-system upgrade was being installed, and transformer blew and that took down the central computer system for both Alaska and Horizon," Alaska Air President Brad Tilden said in a video statement".

The cons of technology.


User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7931 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (3 years 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 3899 times:

Funny how 25 years ago computers were hardly used in airlines, now they cannot even function without them (not a stab at anyone, just commenting on the world today)


Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25754 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (3 years 7 months 8 hours ago) and read 3854 times:

Quoting wedgetail737 (Reply 4):
When you abbreviated the article sentence like the one above

Get over it.

The problem came up exactly like I stated it:

"Apparently the problem arose when a backup power-system upgrade was being installed"

A big whoops certainly...

[Edited 2011-03-27 19:55:56]


From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinewoodsboy From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1031 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (3 years 7 months 7 hours ago) and read 3768 times:

My flight was cancelled yesterday and I was not able to leave since the next flight was also cancelled so I just re-booked for NEXT Saturday, no change fee but since I did not have a 14 day advance purchase my fare increased by $163. Before I hit the rebook/change flight button I called AS reservations and about 50 minutes later I got an agent and asked that they change my reservation without the fare difference. He directed me to the page on Alaskaair.com that had the guidelines of re-booking due to the cancellation/computer outage and it said that the change fees were going to be waived but fare differences would still apply. He said that everyone was in the same boat and that no exceptions to the fare difference were being approved....are you kidding me??? Well, he wasnt, and I know it wasnt his fault. But I find this to me MOST inappropriate for AS to do since the cancellations were their fault. Just thought I would throw this into the discussion.

User currently offlineei a330-200 From Sweden, joined Apr 2001, 409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (3 years 7 months 7 hours ago) and read 3717 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Get over it.

The problem came up exactly like I stated it:

"Apparently the problem arose when a backup power-system upgrade was being installed"

A big whoops certainly...

Well, it happened sort of like you were saying. The way you state it implies that while they were installing the backup power-system upgrade, the technicians made an error that caused the system to fail.

In reality, the technicians were doing the install when a completely unrelated power-failure occurred. As a result of the install, no backup power was available, which caused the problem.



Long live Aer Lingus, the Flying Shamrock!
User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2565 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (3 years 7 months 2 hours ago) and read 3483 times:

Just wondering why AS doesn't have a backup flight planning system. At HA we have three separate systems, one primary and two backup. They are completely independent of each other, including power and computer systems so something like this wouldn't happen. If an airline as large as AS is using just a single system, that sure looks like a weak spot to me. Could anyone connected with AS clarify - or is there really just one system?

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlinewedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5929 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3321 times:
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Quoting HAL (Reply 9):
Just wondering why AS doesn't have a backup flight planning system. At HA we have three separate systems, one primary and two backup. They are completely independent of each other, including power and computer systems so something like this wouldn't happen. If an airline as large as AS is using just a single system, that sure looks like a weak spot to me. Could anyone connected with AS clarify - or is there really just one system?

It sounds like AS does have a backup system, but it was down for maintenance or upgrade. Then the main power went out causing the major failure. It's kind of like a twin engine shutdown on a 737. Just bad luck that day for them. The same thing could happen to any airline.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
Get over it.

The problem came up exactly like I stated it:

"Apparently the problem arose when a backup power-system upgrade was being installed"

A big whoops certainly...

But you did what every other news agency does...takes it out of context, if one doesn't read the entire article. No...I won't get over it!


User currently offlineTomassjc From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 884 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3309 times:
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I won't get over it![/quote]

Me neither...for awhile...it was a weekend from hell...but we got through it!



When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci
User currently offlineexFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3241 times:

Quoting woodsboy (Reply 7):
But I find this to me MOST inappropriate for AS to do since the cancellations were their fault. Just thought I would throw this into the discussion.

I just read the Alaska travel advisory page, and it says that to avoid change fees, travel scheduled for Mar 26-28 has to be re-booked by Mar 28 (today) and completed by Mar 31 - and additional fare will be collected if applicable.

So if you were scheduled to go out on a cheap advance-purchase fare on the 26th, in order to get the change fee waived you have to complete your travel (presumably this means "complete the outbound leg" if it's a round-trip with the return scheduled later) by the 31st, and you have to pay any additional fare, because of a computer problem? That's pretty severe, isn't it?

Even if we presume the primary power failure wasn't Alaska's fault, it isn't the customer's fault either, and I'd think that Alaska would be more generous with reacommondation, either waiving or at least reducing the additional fare or allowing travel to be re-booked further out in the future so the customer can find dates that allow use of the fare already booked.


User currently offlineAccess-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2978 times:

I guess back in the olden days when we didnt rely so much on computers and electronic tickets, perhaps 150 flight would not have been cancelled....Technology is not always the answer, especially in this case.
Can one imagine the chaos if all ATC relied completely on GPS and satellites, and the Satellites failed????
That would be catastrophic....

Access-Air



Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
User currently offlinedxing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2897 times:

Quoting wedgetail737 (Reply 1):
Just be glad it happened on a Saturday

Unless you were on your way to a cruise or starting some other type of vacation with some sort of prepayment involved.


User currently offlinehatbutton From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1500 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2766 times:

Quoting HAL (Reply 9):
Just wondering why AS doesn't have a backup flight planning system. At HA we have three separate systems, one primary and two backup. They are completely independent of each other, including power and computer systems so something like this wouldn't happen. If an airline as large as AS is using just a single system, that sure looks like a weak spot to me. Could anyone connected with AS clarify - or is there really just one system?

There are multiple systems, and in a freak chain of events, these systems and their backup systems and batteries all crashed within an hour of one another. Even the backup battery used to power the backup system that was being upgraded at the time failed. They would have just stopped upgrading the old backup system and powered it back up to run the system, but couldn't cause its battery failed.

I suppose perhaps an investment of another backup system could take place in this fall out, but really, what are the odds that this would have happened? The fact that they failed at the same time one of the backup systems was down for maintenance, and that that system's backup battery that would have restarted the system also failed is just ridiculous.

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 13):
I guess back in the olden days when we didnt rely so much on computers and electronic tickets, perhaps 150 flight would not have been cancelled....Technology is not always the answer, especially in this case.
Can one imagine the chaos if all ATC relied completely on GPS and satellites, and the Satellites failed????
That would be catastrophic....

Hard argument to make because how do you measure all the good and benefits we have received because of increasing technology?

Add that to the fact that mid air collisions used to be a regular occurrence because technology was not good. A catastrophic failure of the satellite systems would just take us back to a time in aviation when we didn't have satellites.

So therefore, having technology is still better because with it, we risk a failure and could end up without satellite technology for a day if it crashed, or be without it at all times like the old days used to be. I think it's obvious which alternative is more desirable.


User currently offlinesimpilot459 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 139 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2619 times:

Quoting hatbutton (Reply 15):
A catastrophic failure of the satellite systems would just take us back to a time in aviation when we didn't have satellites.

except NDBs and VORs would no longer exist, or at least be few and far between.



Take off: Optional Landing: Mandatory
User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5671 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (3 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1861 times:

Quoting hatbutton (Reply 15):


Add that to the fact that mid air collisions used to be a regular occurrence because technology was not good.

Four words: Traffic Collision Avoidance System. There has only been one middair where at least one plane was equipped with TCAS, and that was because the other airplane ignored their own RA.

Quoting simpilot459 (Reply 16):

except NDBs and VORs would no longer exist, or at least be few and far between.

I don't see VORs being phased out anytime soon, and NDBs are really unreliable in conditions where you would need them the most. Not to mention that AM radio still exits, so at least you'll hit the right city.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
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