As earlier reported by CNET News.com, American's AA.com Web site was down sporadically over the last two days, including a more than two-hour outage yesterday.
The site problems stemmed from a "minor" change made to the site's system configuration over the weekend, according to American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith. The company didn't realize the change would cause any problems until the site's performance dropped Monday as weekday traffic picked up.
"This was a routine change," Smith said. "We do this all the time."
Smith said the slowdowns Monday led to the series of outages Tuesday and yesterday. They finally got the site up and running for good about 4 p.m. PT yesterday, he said. Smith didn't know how American Airlines had fixed the problem. The company is working on having redundant systems up and running to prevent future outages, he added.
"We extend our sincerest apologies for the outages and the impact they had on our customers," Smith said. "Site stability has been a big focus for us this year."
The AA.com outages follow similar difficulties at other major e-commerce sites. Amazon.com's Web site went down for more than 30 minutes in July, soon after the company launched its toys and electronics stores. Meanwhile, auction leader eBay suffered a spate of outages earlier this year, including a 22-hour downtime in early June.
Earlier this year, Forrester Research ranked American Airlines as one of the top travel sites on the Web in terms of the number of customers who visited it and the percentage of visitors who bought travel through it.