Technology IPad app error grounds dozens of flights

IPad app error grounds dozens of flights


A faulty app caused American Airlines to ground dozens of its jets.
A faulty app caused American Airlines to ground dozens of its jets.

(AA) — Travelers were still delayed Wednesday morning after more than two dozen flights were grounded the pervious night when an apparent glitch knocked out iPads used by American Airlines pilots.

The bug affected digital mapping software used by pilots in the cockpit.

“Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads,” American Airlines explained in a statement about the misstep, which affected only flights in the United States. “In some cases, the flight has had to return to the gate to access a WiFi connection to fix the issue.”

The airline placed the blame on the application’s creator, not iPad-maker Apple.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers,” the company continued. “We are working to have them on the way to their destination as soon as possible.”

The effects of the glitch continued to reverberate Wednesday. Stranded and delayed flyers voiced their disapproval about the technology hiccup on Twitter.

One annoyed user reaching his destination Wednesday tweeted that he blamed the delay on American Airlines “failing to let its pilots know that they needed to install an iOS update.”

In 2013, American Airlines became the first airline to allow tablet computers into the cockpit –a move that removed the need for pounds of paperwork usually required and saved thousands of gallons of fuel each year.

When the company made the switch to iPads two years ago, it claimed the tablet eliminated 35 pounds of paper that pilots carry on every flight in the form of reference documents and manuals. 

In total, the company’s fleet of 8,000 tablets replaced 24 million pages of paper. American Airlines estimates that the reduced weight saves at least 400,000 gallons of fuel per year, slashing costs annually by about $1 million.

Unlike iPads, however, paper never needs a software update.