Airplanes grounded with one click

300 United Airlines flights canceled or delayedThere no doubt that information technology has positively reshaped the way people deal with their favorite airlines.

Online ticket purchases, personalized customer service and fidelity privileges are some of the most popular, and useful, features that airlines can offer to their clients.

Of course, all this finely orchestrated technological cloud can have a profoundly disturbing effect on the airplane flights themselves, in the event it fails —which it shouldn’t, in theory.

This past June (2007), United Airlines canceled or delayed 300 of its trips when their flight operations computer system went down. The airline was initially baffled as to the cause but according to the Chicago Sun-Times, it was revealed that an employee made an error during a routine system testing. Oups!

So that’s how any computer “expert” can ground 300 airplanes with one -wrong- click… or keystroke.

This is yet another reminder that IT is everywhere in our largely wired world and when one computer system goes down, whatever the reason, a lot of “real world” consequences can impact people’s lives.

Tags: airplanes, computer crash, united airlines, technology, it

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