If you're sitting in a terminal at Seattle-Tacoma Airport hoping to board a flight, you're probably not concerned with the health of fiber optic cable in the midwest. But in an incident that underscores the sometime unlikely ripples from local events, a fiber cut on a Sprint cable in Wisconsin severed Alaska Airlines' connection to Sabre, the system the airline uses for reservations and ticketing. The outage is preventing customers from checking in for flights and is causing delays systemwide, Alaskan Air said on its Facebook page.
"We sincerely apologize to our customers who are traveling this morning and that have been impacted by a network outage," the airline said. "We are working as quickly as we can to have network access restored for our computer systems. We have implemented a manual process to check-in customers, however, this process will be slow and flights will depart late. Alaska IT specialists are working to partially restore a connection to Sabre."
Sprint acknowledges that its services are affected by a fiber cut, but offers different details. "Due to a fiber cut in the Pacific northwest, you may have issues making or receiving calls, or accessing data services if you are in the Minnesota, Washington, or Oregon areas," Sprint told TechCrunch. "The issue has been identified and crews are working diligently to correct the problem. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. "
So which is right? Both, according to reports on a mailing list for network operators, which cites accounts from Sprint of fiber cuts near Portland, Oregon and Kenosha, Wisconsin.