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Southwest Airlines Flight Delayed over System Glitch

There haven’t been too many flight delays and cancellations in the US since the big string of winter storms that blew through. However, Southwest Airlines customers were caught in delays on Tuesday night when the airline’s telecommunications system hit a glitch. The problem didn’t last too long – for about an hour from 7pm ET – but this didn’t keep customers from getting a little stressed.

The glitch started on the same day Southwest implemented major changes to Rapid Rewards, their frequent flier program. Problems really started to surface earlier in the day when members were trying to log in to their accounts. The carrier didn’t say much about the problems at the time, but issued apologies on Facebook and Twitter, which were getting plenty of complaints from passengers.

By late Tuesday, the website for McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas showed scattered delays for flights both arriving and departing. The airline is usually the airport’s busiest and often serves over 1 million fliers a month. This wasn’t the only airport affected, however.

Tuesday evening, Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Ashley Dillon said that they had a temporary outage with their telecommunications systems, which caused some issues with customer service at their ticket counters and with various other parts of the system. Because of this, they had to implement a manual system, she continued, which meant that staff had to issue handwritten boarding passes. This caused some short delays – less than an hour – but it wasn’t clear how many were affected, she added. At the time of the outage, about 300 flights were operating.

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