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Passengers expecting early morning flights on Tuesday aboard Southwest Airlines experienced operations grinding to a halt due to “data connection issues resulting from a firewall failure,” according to a statement from the airline.

“Early this morning, a vendor-supplied firewall went down and connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost. Southwest Teams worked quickly to minimize flight disruptions.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued the nationwide stop, adding in a tweet that departures were paused “at the airlines request.” The entity has since lifted the ground stop, and service has resumed.

However, as of Tuesday afternoon, FlightAware showed 47 percent (1,982) of Southwest’s flights as delayed—and the number keeps increasing.

Southwest Solutions to Delays

The airline asks passengers to “check your flight status and explore self-service options as we work to restore operations and accommodate disrupted Customers as quickly as possible.”

According to its website, “Customers holding reservations to/from any Southwest destination today, April 18, may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge.”

Travelers who purchased via the website or the mobile app are being asked to reschedule using those portals. Otherwise, they are advised to call the airline at 800-435-9792 and talk to a customer service representative.

This issue comes mere months after Southwest was forced to cancel more than a third of its schedule—16,700 flights—during the 2022 holiday season, a move that cost the airline hundreds of millions of dollars, left thousands of passengers stranded and mountains of unclaimed luggage across the nation. The meltdown was blamed on “operational systems,” and the airline announced its intention to spend $1.3 billion on maintenance and technology upgrades.

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