The online flight search and booking systems for several of the largest airlines in the United States appeared to be down on Monday after a problem with shared software that they use to power their reservation systems. User reports compiled by Down Detector showed that American, Delta and United Airlines all appeared to be affected by the outage.
The software is provided by ITA Software – a specialist flight search and booking system which is owned and run by Google. A spokesperson for Google confirmed an outage, saying in a statement: “There is a known issue on our side and we are working now to implement a fix.”
The spokesperson was unable to say what had caused the outage or how long travelers might be prevented from booking new tickets. Airlines that use alternative flight search systems from the likes of Sabre and Amadeus didn’t appear to have been affected.
Google acquired ITA in 2010 in a deal that valued the Cambridge, Massachusetts flight information software company at $700 million. The acquisition proved controversial over fears that Google would soon dominate the flight comparison market and in turn drive up airfares.
The ITA Matrix search is used to power the user-friendly Google Flights system, although a more complicated system for frequent flyers and travel agents remains in existence.
Alaska Airlines also appeared to be hit by the outage but the websites of Southwest, JetBlue, Hawaiian all appeared to be functioning without a hitch.
A spokesperson for United Airlines said later on Monday that the issue had been resolved without providing further details. In an emailed statement, American blamed the problem on a “third party vendor” but said customers had been able to check-in for flights and there was no impact on operations.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.