American Airlines delays flight over iPad, Boeing unit software glitch

The tablet-electronic planning system deployed by American Airlines ran into a few glitches and delayed flights. Get used to another reason to delay flights.

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A glitch with American Airlines' electronic flight plan software on pilots' iPads led to delays and a bit of a Twitter dustup.

In 2013, American Airlines became the first major carrier to deploy "electronic flight bags" and go paperless. In a nutshell, American Airlines gave pilots Apple iPads and mobile software from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation.

The deployment went smoothly and functioned well for nearly two years. Until a few flights were grounded and techies noticed. After all, it's hard to take off without a flight plan. Customers were told that iPads were crashing.

On Twitter, American Airlines addressed the issue.

A few observations:

  • First, note how Apple takes the hit for the iPad crash. At the moment no one has an a clue whether it was the iPad or the Jeppesen software or some mix of the two.
  • American Airlines did the right thing. You can't fly without a flight plan and the airline went paperless.
  • The paperless, software society will have crashes from time to time.
  • American's delay was notable, but you might as well get used to it. After all, most airlines will go paperless if they haven't already.

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