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Senators ask airlines about technology problems

Delta passengers stand in line as the carrier slogged through day two of its recovery from a global computer outage, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, at Salt Lake City International Airport, in Salt Lake City. Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that some computer systems are still working slowly more than a day after an outage crippled the airline. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Delta passengers stand in line as the carrier slogged through day two of its recovery from a global computer outage, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, at Salt Lake City International Airport, in Salt Lake City. Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that some computer systems are still working slowly more than a day after an outage crippled the airline. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) AP

Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines technology problems this summer that caused thousands of flights to be canceled, stranding thousands of passengers, has led two U.S. senators to query airlines about their technology systems.

In a letter sent to twelve U.S. airlines on Tuesday, Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal asked airline executives to provide lists of IT failures in the past five years and what safeguards and backups are in place

“We are concerned with recent reports indicating that airlines’ IT systems may be susceptible to faltering because of the way they are designed and have been maintained,” the senators wrote in the letter. “As operators in this critical transportation industry, it is your responsibility to ensure that your IT systems are both reliable and resilient.”

The senators said they are also concerned about how airlines are rebooking passengers following a flight cancellation due to an IT problem.

“We believe that, in the event of flight delays and cancellations caused by airlines, air carriers should rebook interested passengers on another airline or on a different mode of transportation without charging consumers additional costs or fees and should provide passengers with full reimbursement and compensation, including for any needed meals and lodging,” the letter said.

The letters were sent to Southwest, Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Allegiant Air, Virgin America, Sun Country Airlines and Island Air Hawaii.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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