Computers Restored after American Flights Grounded by Hours-Long Outage

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. EDT: American’s computer systems have been fully restored, but as the carrier notes on its Facebook page, it expects “continued flight delays and cancellations throughout the remainder of the day.” It is offering refunds or free flight changes and you can learn more here.

UPDATE 4 p.m. EDT: Due to the computer problems, American will offer refunds or change travel plans at no charge – when they can – but at the moment they are still unable to modify today’s reservations.


American Airlines is experiencing nationwide outages in its Sabre reservations system, forcing the carrier to institute a system-wide ground delay which is currently scheduled to be lifted at 5 p.m. eastern time.

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American: Problems Accessing Reservations

According to information tweeted by @AmericanAir, “The issue is w/our ability to access our res[ervation] system & not w/ @SabreNews.” One news organization reports that the system is experiencing “intermittent” outages. In any event, the airline says it is currently working to resolve the issue and added an apology for “any inconvenience.”

Some passengers having taken to Twitter themselves, especially the inconvenienced ones. One tweeted, “Three more hours on the tarmac???” while another reprimanded the carrier as a “total  failure.” However, many more seemed to take it in stride, as this passenger did: “Guess I’m lunching at DFW.”

Few Options for Travelers

With a system-wide ground delay, passengers have few options but here are some suggestions:

Find your own route out: Check for other airlines going your way as you wait in line to talk to an American agent (and get on the phone, too, in case that’s faster). You’ll save time if you can say, try to book me on Carrier ABC and here’s the flight number. Note: This may not be possible if the AA system is completely down and not just experiencing intermittent problems.

Book it yourself: Forgo the lines and head to an alternate carrier’s reservation desk and book yourself on the next flight out. Note: this is an option only for those who must get somewhere on-time as last-minute tickets can be extremely expensive – plus, if you checked a bag, it may not travel with you.

Complain: If you don’t get reasonable satisfaction from the airline, you can always file a formal complaint.

Relax and get some work done: For most of us, a few hours delay is not going to make or break our travel plans. As the tweeting passenger said, grab some lunch.


Published: April 16, 2013