Yesterday Southwest hit some snags with their computer systems. A failure in their systems brought down the network, but do not fret, the company had backup systems in place for just such an eventuality. That is great, unless the backup systems fail to take over, and that is exactly what happened yesterday.
After the problems arose, Southwest quickly ran into issues with booking online, as well as managing flights on the ground and in the air. Overall the problems caused over 200 flight cancellations and 400-800 flight delays. Throughout the day yesterday, the systems started to come back gradually, but the delays started to stack up quickly as the systems were down for far too long. At one point, Southwest was forced to issue a complete ground stop on all aircraft nationwide no takeoff, no taxing to the runway, not leaving the gate.
The Southwest CEO estimates that due to the website being down, the company lost somewhere around $10 million in new bookings. Additionally there will be extensive loses as cancellations cause passengers to be booked into hotels and receive meals. Also, passengers then need to be rebooked onto new flights that already have full to near full loads of people on board. These are just some of the problems stemming from the cancelled flights, not to mention the massive costs from the delayed flights which were upwards of 4x more flights than the cancellations.
Computer issues yesterday with Southwest promise to cost the company countless millions of dollars. Southwest has not been very specific about what the so called "glitch" was that caused the initial failure, but we'll keep an eye out for any more information as it comes along.