An Amadeus network issue caused worldwide disruptions at airline check-in counters yesterday, leaving passengers waiting until all systems were operative again.
Some airlines reported that the actual outage just took roughly 30 minutes while others struggled a bit longer. The Amadeus Altea system is universally used by some of the worlds largest carriers.
You can access more information about this from the New York Times (see here).
Flights were delayed and travelers struggled to check in at airports around the world on Thursday after a software program used by several major airlines went down.
The program, known as Altea and developed by a company called Amadeus, encountered problems as a result of what Amadeus called a “network issue.” Altea helps airlines manage customer reservations, including tagging luggage and issuing boarding passes.
Amadeus software is used by 189 airlines — including major carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, Thai Airways and Air France — and Altea in particular is designed with full-service airlines in mind. …
Amadeus said in a statement that it had “experienced a network issue that caused disruption to some of our systems.” Technical teams had identified the cause of the outage and restored services, the company said, adding that services were gradually being restored. …
The extent of the outages varied by airline and airport. The Star Alliance, which includes United, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa among its 28 members, said that two-thirds of its airlines use Amadeus software, and that customers on their network were affected but issues were “kept to a minimum.”
Obviously as soon as the check-in systems are down people won’t be able to either pick up a boarding pass at either machines or the counter and dropping off baggage is also impossible. At least the boarding pass issue could be avoided if someone carries a mobile boarding pass or one printed previously at home. That won’t help much as far as the baggage is concerned if someone is traveling with more than a carry on.
I always try and do online check in these days and either download the boarding pass or even print it where available. It saved me a couple times when the computers were down, lines endlessly long (even at the premium counters) or in some cases when I got stuck in traffic and ran so late that it would have been impossible to pick up a boarding pass due to lack of time.