- Airports around the world experienced delays Thursday after a self-service check-in system provider suffered a "network issue," according to a Quartz report. The Altea system, created by the Spanish company Amadeus, was gradually restored Thursday morning after technical problems caused system disruptions, the company said.
- The self-service system allows customers to check-in to flights and drop off bags and allows airlines to communicate any flight changes. The system is used by more than 100 airlines worldwide, including Southwest Airlines, British Airways and Air France, according to the DailyMail.com.
- Passengers complained of long lines and delays at airports around the world, including airports in Paris, Washington D.C., Baltimore, London and Zurich. While some of the outages only lasted a few minutes, some customers said they were waiting several hours, Quartz reports.
The airline industry can't seem to catch a break. In this case, the widespread airport delays were not caused by the airlines themselves, but rather the third-party provider relied on for self-service solutions.
Third parties sometimes have a negative reputation and are blamed for outages or cybersecurity incidents. The reality is, however, most organizations heavily rely on third-party providers for software and services companies don't want to invest the time or resources to build in-house.
When outages happen, they can cause ripple effects through a system. In the airline industry, this also causes cascading delays and frustrated fliers, particularly when there is no back-up system in place.
Unlike many other industries, airline IT concerns are highly visible and widely criticized as customers rapidly take to social media to air their grievances. The need for redundancy measures are highlighted when outages occur. If an alternative system in place, airlines can avoid widespread delays. But that's easier said than done.
Manual processes are not always the answer as airlines become more reliant on technology. Though IT was previously cast aside, airlines are beginning to invest more in technology, modernizing legacy systems and investing in future technology to remain competitive.