Fiber optic lines operated by Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) knocked out service to the Pacific Northwest on Sunday and disrupted air travel and reservations. The outage extended through northern California, Oregon and Washington state.
The outage was caused by two cable breaks — one in a cable between Milwaukee and Chicago and the second between Tacoma and Portland, Bloomberg reports. The outage began in the early morning hours and extended until about 1:30 p.m. PDT.
Air carriers Alaska Air and Horizon Air, both owned by Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK), were hurt by the outage. The connection the carriers have to Sabre, the industry travel reservations service, prevented customers from buying tickets and making reservations. A total of 70 flights were canceled and others were delayed for hours as Sprint, Sabre and the airlines worked to restore service.
Sprint, in fierce competition with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T), has seen its stock more than double this year as the company has attempted to improve its customer service record and differentiate itself with unlimited data plans.