An iPad [app] glitch grounded several dozen American Airlines planes

From Quartz:

American Airlines flights experienced significant delays this evening after pilots’ iPads—which the airline uses to distribute flight plans and other information to the crew—abruptly crashed. “Several dozen” flights were affected by the outage, according to a spokesperson for the airline.

The Quartz headline reads:

An iPad glitch grounded several dozen American Airlines planes

I added the word “app” because I find it hard to believe this issue was caused by an iPad, especially when it happened to a number of different iPads. Seems to me this is a bug in an app, as opposed to a hardware fault.

Serious, no doubt, but the reporting on this seemed to point to Apple and the iPad, as opposed to the American Airlines team that built, tested, and accepted the app. My 2 cents.

Read the tweets in the article. The first one uses the words “issue with a software application”, but the rest use words like “iPad crashed”, “iPad shutdown glitch”, and “iPad crash”.



  • Agreed…seems strange that all those iPads are out there in the wild, but only these had the problem. Certainly points to an app issue.

    Same old story. F.U.D. when it comes to Apple.

    Makes you wonder about the quality of all of the mainstream media reporting on all issues of importance.

  • I read in another article that they’ve acknowledged that it was the app and not “Apple” 🙂

    • JohnDoey

      Except the app developer could easily tell you that it was an Apple bug that caused their app to crash. Their app might have run perfectly on 8.2 but then started crashing after Apple’s 8.3 update. This kind of thing is happening all the time these days because Apple basically removed all the design and testing time from their software release schedule, then reorganized their software production teams and the whole thing was executed very, very badly. Pretending that this didn’t happen doesn’t do Apple any favors.

      • That does not make it an iOS bug. iOS updates make an effort to be bug-for-bug compatible with older applications, but it isn’t always successful. And recompiling will remove that compatibility. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a crash that was “iOS N’s fault,” only appeared after a recompile, and it turned out what I was doing should never have worked.

  • deviladv

    Computing devices are complicated things, and people at large, both writers and readers, do not always understand them. It sucks that people do not take the time to understand basic differences.

    What also sucks is what makes “news”. Planes are grounded all the time for various reasons, but because this is new to people, the fact that an app crashed and grounded planes is somehow new simply because it’s novel, and not because it’s important. The news echo chamber all then has to report on it because if they don’t it looks like they missed out on something when it’s nothing at all.

    Even with with the word “app” readers are going to see “iPad” and associate issues with the device and not the creators of the app.

  • My guess is they just need to sync the app to a centralized server before getting on the plane and didn’t. It’s the equivalent of carrying a duffle bag full of the wrong maps (or even no maps) onto the plane.

  • Eugene Kim

    Thanks Obama

  • Jeppesen, a large flight services company and the app developer, has taken responsibility for the issue and is rolling out an update. Sadly, some will still continue to blame Apple, though.

  • That’s like the recent LA School situation. Everyone seems happy to blame Apple for that debacle and the schools want their money back, when there was wasn’t acutally anything wrong with the iPads they provided the LA School Districts. But the educational software by Pearson Education was an utterly non-functional disaster, and yet they get to slink off into the night. I’ve worked with Pearson and they’re on my “never again” client list.

  • JohnDoey

    I would have found it hard to believe a few years ago, when my iPad never crashed. But now, I find the idea that the iPads themselves were faulty to be very easy to believe because my late-model iPad with iOS 8 fails me regularly.