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Tag Archives: travel news

Alaska Airlines computer connection restored

6 hrs.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Crowds of Alaska Airlines passengers wait in long lines of the check-in area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday, during a system-wide outage of the computers the airline uses to check in passengers. The system was restored on Monday afternoon.

Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET: Alaska Airlines has fixed the computer problem that delayed flights Monday across its 64-airport network on the West Coast and in Mexico and Canada, and operations slowly were returning to normal.

The problem was caused by a severed fiber optic line that cut the Seattle-based airline’s connection to its ticketing system at 7:40 a.m. PT.

Lines of frustrated passengers grew at the airline’s hub in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and at other airports as the company was unable to put passengers on planes, except by handwritten paperwork.

Alaska Airlines said the data connection was restored before 1 p.m. but passengers could still expect some delays as the system adjusted.

The problem was caused by a combination of two fiber optic cuts in the Sprint system. One occurred at a construction site along railroad tracks between Chicago and Milwaukee and the other was somewhere between Portland and Seattle, said Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis in Reston, Va.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Handwritten Alaska Airlines flight numbers and destinations are shown taped to a check-in station computer monitor with an error message, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday.

“Typically if there’s just one cut traffic reroutes automatically,” Davis said. “Because there were two cuts with hours of each other, it caused this disruption.”

The airline told waiting passengers at Sea-Tac they could rebook later at no charge.

About half the flights at Sea-Tac are Alaska Airlines or its sister airline, Horizon Air.

No other airlines or any airplanes at Sea-Tac were affected by the problem, airport spokesman Perry Cooper said. But lines were out the door in the Alaska Airlines part of the terminal.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is the seventh-largest U.S. airline based on passenger traffic and is the dominant U.S. West Coast air carrier. It has an average of 436 flights a day at 64 destinations.

Alaska and Horizon Air are owned by Alaska Air Group. 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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American Airlines: ‘Gunk’ from spilled drinks partly to blame
for loose seats

7 hrs.

TSA agent allegedly steals $100 from passenger at LAX

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TSA agent allegedly swipes $100 from traveler

1 hr.

Officials arrested a Transportation Security Administration agent on Friday after he allegedly swiped cash from a passenger’s wallet at Los Angeles International Airport.

On Friday around 8 a.m. PT, airport police responded to a complaint after a passenger went through TSA security at LAX’s Terminal 5, airport spokesperson Albert Rodriguez told NBC News. The passenger had placed his wallet and other personal possessions in the TSA-provided bin, Rodriguez said.

After the security screening, the victim reportedly noticed that $100 was missing from his wallet, the Los Angeles Times reported.

After an initial investigation, airport police arrested a TSA agent, 47-year-old Clyde Reese, on suspicion of theft.

A TSA spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that Reese will be removed from screening duties and could be fired, if wrongdoing is found.

“TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has a zero tolerance for theft,” Melendez told the newspaper.

The TSA did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for further comment, since Monday was a federal holiday.

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Alaska Airlines troubled with significant flight delays

48 min.

Alaska Airlines President and CEO Brad Tilden says there might be a partial solution by noon Pacific time to computer problems that have caused system-wide flight delays for his carrier.

Tilden said Monday he hopes for a full resolution by 5 p.m. PT and that “we’re doing everything we can to get back on track.”

Tilden says the computer problem stems from a data outage in the Midwest.

He spoke at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport during an unrelated announcement with Delta Air Lines about a new route.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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American Airlines: ‘Gunk’ from spilled drinks partly to blame
for loose seats

1 hr.

TSA agent allegedly steals $100 from passenger at LAX

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American: ‘Gunk’ to blame for loose seats

4 hrs.

American Airlines has grounded dozens of airplanes for a second time this week due to loose passenger seats, causing nearly 100 flight cancellations on Thursday and Friday. It said it was quickly resolving the problem, which the company indicated was caused by an array of factors, including the “gunk” from drinks that get spilled.

“We have identified the issue and our maintenance teams are securing an FAA-approved locking mechanism to make sure no seat can be dislodged,” company spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said in a statement. “All of our (Boeing) 757s will be back in service by Saturday.”

She said the seat issue caused the company to cancel 50 flights on Thursday and 45 on Friday.

American first grounded the 48 Boeing 757 aircraft it operates on Monday for inspection after seats came loose on three flights, two of which made emergency landings as a result.

The airline re-grounded the airplanes — nearly half of its Boeing 757s — for maintenance on Thursday, less than a day after it said it had made all necessary repairs to fix the problem.

Huguely’s statement did not provide detail as to what caused the seat problem, but another company spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said multiple “contributing factors” led to the problem.

“There are a lot of contributing factors  — normal wear and tear, gunk that can affect the locking-pin mechanism — whether its debris or sodas,” she said.  

But she said “gunk” was not the primary cause.  “There were some installation issues — a lot of contributing factors.”

The company is installing mechanical ties to keep these seats in place on the 48 jets with this type of seat, as a backup in case the locking pin mechanism fails.

The remainder of American Airlines’ aircraft, which have different types of seats, remained in service.

“The fundamental design of this seat is not as robust as some of the latest designs,” David L. Campbell, American’s vice president of safety, said in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor. He said the airline had used the same seats for 20 years without incident until now.

The seats in the Boeing aircraft are not designed by Boeing, the company said.

“The seats are buyer-furnished equipment and we install them for the airlines initially,” company spokesman Tom Brabant told NBC News. “The airline is responsible for maintaining them after that.”

Video: American Airlines to fix loose seats

The manufacturer of the seats in question is Weber Aircraft LLC, the company spokesperson said.

The Gainesville, Texas, company did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

The Federal Aviation Administration began investigating on Saturday, when flight AA685 from Boston to Miami diverted to New York’s JFK Airport because a seat became dislodged.

“The FAA is aware of American’s decision to conduct further inspections on certain Boeing 757s and concurs with this step,” the FAA said in a statement. “Our safety investigation continues and we’ll take additional action as appropriate.”

American’s parent company, Dallas-based AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy in November.

American is currently involved in tense negotiations with its pilots.

The number of delayed and canceled American flights has surged in the past month.

The company has blamed the pilots for intentionally causing delays by calling in sick in droves and making  frivolous mechanical complaints.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents 10,000 American pilots, denies these charges.

“Failure to place a mechanical discrepancy in the maintenance logbook can result in a revocation of a pilot’s license by the Federal Aviation Administration, not to mention the fact that it could result in a serious safety risk,” said APA President Keith Wilson in a Sept. 28 statement on the union’s website.

9 hrs.

American Airlines delays flight because of springs missing from pilot’s seat

3 days

3rd American Airlines flight had seats come loose

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American flight delayed due to missing springs

3 hrs.

An American Airlines flight bound for Miami was delayed Thursday night due to missing springs in the pilot’s seat, the pilot announced on the plane.

Passengers on board flight No. 469 at Philadelphia International Airport were notified about the delay at around 7 p.m. ET. The plane was scheduled to depart from Gate A3 at 6:40 p.m. ET, but left shortly before 8 p.m. ET instead.

The pilot told passengers that one spring was located in the maintenance supply and that a search for another was under way.

“What we’re doing about the second spring is we’re starting a search around the airport to try and find another spring,” he said.

Agitated passengers
Megan McNally, a passenger on the plane, told NBC 6 South Florida that people on the plane were agitated.

“They told us that they don’t have any planes and that they wouldn’t be able to put us on another one, so it would be on us to figure out what to do,” she said.

American Airlines issued a statement Thursday about recent seat issues after four flights, two of which were Miami-bound, were affected by loose seats.

“Working with the FAA, American Airlines is taking additional steps to prevent seats from becoming dislodged on some of our Boeing 757 aircraft. After further analysis by our engineering team, the company is taking additional preventative steps to enhance the locking mechanism features used to secure the seats to the aircraft floor,” the statement read.

It further stated that work to ensure the function of seat lock plungers will be completed after the aircraft land at their destination, and that select flights may be delayed or cancelled. All work is expected to be completed by Oct. 6.

More on this story from NBCMiami.com

Series of incidents
The airline said it is inspecting dozens of aircraft after a series of incidents of seats becoming loose during flights.

Another American Airlines flight headed to Miami on Monday was forced to return to Kennedy Airport after seats on the plane became loose.

On Saturday, Boston-to-Miami flight 685 made an emergency landing at Kennedy Airport when a row of seats became loose.

Video: American Airlines removes planes from service … again

“We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this may cause with their travel plans. The safety of our customers and people as well as the reliability of our fleet, is always of utmost priority to American,” the statement said.

Rodrigo Perreira, who is from Bolivia, said he will vacation in Miami again but will do one thing differently.

“This will be the last time I fly with American,” he said.

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