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Airline Booking Engines Go Down Due to Google Glitch

Airline Booking Engines Go Down Due to Google Glitch
Joe Cortez

Flyers attempting to book airfare experienced difficulties on Monday, April 5, after a Google software interface experienced a glitch. ITA Software, which powers many different booking engines – including Google Flights – prevented fare information from being distributed.

Thousands of flyers depend on ITA Software when they book airfare, whether or not they realize it. But for several hours on Monday, April 5, 2021, the ability to purchase flights with American Airlines and Delta Air Lines was inhibited due a glitch in the Google software. Reuters reports the software issue affected flyers purchasing directly through Delta, as well as other third-party websites.

Outage Lasted Several Hours, Affecting over 800 Users

According to Reuters, over 800 users reported issues with purchasing airfare directly from the three legacy carriers: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. However, the issue wasn’t limited to just the big three – flyers trying to use Google Flights and other online travel agencies were also impacted by the outage. A spokesperson for Delta speaking to Reuters blamed the issues squarely on Google, calling it “a failure of technology.”

Alphabet, Inc. – owners of both Google and ITA Software – confirmed in a statement that a software glitch caused the temporary outage. The issue affected airlines in different ways: while United’s booking software was down for around two hours, American flyers were still able to check in for flights using their home computers or phones.

“Earlier today, a data error impacted our flight shopping software, which prevented airline partners, as well as Google Flights, from showing fare information,” a Google spokesperson told Reuters. “We’ve implemented a fix and the issue has now been mitigated. We’ll continue to monitor to ensure this is fully resolved.”

The glitch is the first computer incident affecting flyers this year, and the latest major issue since a United glitch allowed anyone with a valid ticket number to view refund requests. The issue for the Chicago-based carrier affected an unknown number of flyers, and was patched roughly a month after it was reported.

Computer Issues Latest Problem Affecting Airlines

The ITA Software outage is just one of a number of problems affecting airlines as travelers start booking airfare and taking vacations long delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday, April 4, 2021, the Associated Press reported Delta was forced to cancel 100 flights due to a staffing shortage.

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