Major Airline Websites Fall Offline

An outage at cloud tech company Akamai sent the websites of several airlines offline on Thursday. The outage, which occurred around midday US eastern time on Thursday and lasted about one hour, impacted Delta Air Lines, British Airways, and Southwest Airlines.

An outage at tech company Akamai sent the websites of several airlines offline. Photo Getty Images.

Frustrated passengers flooded social media as airlines scrambled to get on top of the problem.

“@Southwest Air, I think part of the website is down. I can’t access any of my flight info for today,” said one user on Twitter.

“Three delays later, the app is down, the website is down,” said another.

“Akamai experienced a service disruption earlier,” said British Airways. “Our website is now back up.”

“The disruption lasted up to an hour,” an Akamai Technologies statement reads. “A software configuration update triggered a bug in the DNS system, the system that directs browsers to websites.

“This caused a disruption impacting availability of some customer websites. The disruption lasted up to an hour. Upon rolling back the software configuration update, the services resumed normal operations.”

Thursday’s outage impacted several airlines including Delta Air Lines. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

A one-hour outage causes widespread problems for airlines and their passengers

Thursday’s brief outage was the second Akamai outage in two months. The Massachusetts-based tech business provides internet services for scores of the world’s highest-profile companies, including many airlines. Consequently, when a tech business like Akamai goes down, even if only briefly, the repercussions are felt far and wide.

“Akamai can confirm this was not a cyberattack against Akamai’s platform,” a spokesperson said.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said on its website that the airline was experiencing “temporary technical issues.” Airline tracking websites are not showing a spike in delays or cancelations among the impacted airlines on Thursday.

“Our Tech Team has been made aware of the issues our Customers are encountering on, and we’ll get it back up and running ASAP,” Southwest Airlines said online.

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Southwest’s IT systems are getting back to normal on Thursday evening. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

British Airways, Southwest & Delta the hardest hit airlines

Akamai’s earlier June outage impacted American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. This time, United Airlines appears to have dodged the outage. Internet outage tracking website Downdetector indicated American Airlines experienced some problems on Thursday afternoon but not to the extent of Delta Air Lines or Southwest Airlines.

81% of the reported problems at Delta Air Lines related to their website, 9% concerned online check-in, and 10% related to flight delays. At Southwest Airlines, 61% of the reported problems concerned the airline’s website, 26% related to online check-in issues, and 13% concerned flight delays. At British Airways, 8% of the reported problems related to flight delays, 10% concerned online check-in, and 82% related to BA’s website.

A check of the major United States-based airlines on Downdetector suggests the outage did not impact Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, or Frontier Airlines. The social media feeds of these airlines also indicate, aside from the usual tales of lost bags, doggies, and missed connections, it was business as usual at these airlines.

By Thursday evening, the outage appears to be resolving, at least among the impacted airlines. All three are operating normally at the time of publication.