Wires

UPDATE 1-Sprint outages ground Alaska Airlines flights

(Adds Alaska Airlines statement)

Oct 8 (Reuters) - An outage that cut phone and data serviceto Sprint customers in parts of California, Oregon andWashington also grounded some Alaska Airlines passengers onMonday as it knocked the air carrier's reservations system offline.

Crystal Davis, a spokeswoman for Sprint Nextel Corp ,said the outages were caused by two cuts in the company's fiberoptic cable network.

One was accidentally cut early Monday morning whilemaintenance work was being conducted on a railroad track betweenChicago and Milwaukee, she said.

The company is still investigating the cause of the secondcut, which occurred between Tacoma, Washington and Portland,Oregon.

Davis said that fiber cuts are typically accidental, butthat sabotage had not been ruled out as the cause of the secondincident.

Alaska Airlines said in a statement that it and sistercarrier Horizon Air had canceled 70 flights affecting more than6,000 people by midday Monday. Some of the flights that haddeparted were up to four hours late, it said.

The carrier added that more cancellations were planned forlater flights as it works to get operations back to normal.Sprint Internet service had been restored about 4-1/2 hoursafter being disrupted, the carrier added.

Alaska and Horizon, which are owned by Alaska Air Group, said customers traveling Monday or Tuesday can requestrefunds or change their tickets without incurring extra fees.

(Reporting By Sinead Carew in New York, Jim Finkle in Bostonand Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Kenneth Barry andRichard Chang)

((jim.finkle@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 617-856-4344)(ReutersMessaging: jim.finkle.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.us))

Keywords: SPRINT OUTAGES/