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Does Not Compute
August 10, 2016

Chronic, widespread computer shutdowns have caused many thousands of airline delays and cancellations, which have delayed passengers from many hours to several days.
The flying masses have the time and the inclination to wonder: Is this fair?
That is the sentiment following the latest fiasco with Delta, which is still ongoing. 
In addition, the airline is not making passengers whole and may even be trying to profit from it.  Passengers must rebook by Aug. 21 (originally it was by this Friday), otherwise Delta’s usual fees kick in.
FlyersRights has received many interview requests this week on this.

Here’s what we know:

  • Delta still can’t get their system together 3 days later- customers face another day of delays and cancellations for Wednesday
  • Power outage crippled the airline and led to 1,700 flights being grounded
  • A ‘critical’ piece of equipment failed at the airline’s Atlanta headquarters, the airline said
  • The wait to talk to a rep is over 2 hours 
This latest computer meltdown nicely complements what the airlines have done in recent years to make you miserable.

While Delta insists it was a power outage and not a hack, the Atlanta power company has been quite vocal in its condemnation of Delta saying no other Atlanta customers lost power, that the problem was entirely Delta’s fault, which has lead many to surmise it was a hack, not a glitch and Delta does not want to tell anyone their systems are that vulnerable to hacking.

Delta is just the latest airline to have a massive system failure:

  • Southwest canceled 1000 flights: July 21, 2016
  • Southwest October 11, 2015: 836 delays: check-in software failure
  • American Airlines September 17, 2015 at hubs DFW, ORD, MIA
  • United in July 8, 2015, 4900 flights: faulty router
  • United June 2, 2015, 1 hour: flight dispatching system
  • American April 2015, 50 flights: software glitch preventing maps on pilot tablets
  • Southwest June 22 2013: system wide, cancelling 57
  • American April 16, 2013: intermittent outages: cancelling 970 and delaying 1068
  • United series of problems in 2012 when switching to Continental system: hundreds of flights delayed: Nov. 15
  • United June 18, 2011: 5 hours
  • ATC Outages:
    • Aug. 15, 2015: Leesburg, VA
    • Apr. 30, 2014: U2 spy plane in California caused glitch
    • Sep. 2010, Southern California

    FAA Outages

    • May 26, 2016 in San Diego
    • April 30, 2014 in Los Angeles
    • Sep 2008 around Chicago
    There is a fix: restore the reciprocity rule that FlyersRights has championed – (known as Rule 240 that allows passengers on a significantly delayed or canceled flights to use their ticket on another airline’s flight at no additional cost).
    Furthermore, mandate a robust backup of airline and ATC computer systems as critical to the national infrastructure, and discourage airlines from using their high profits for stock buybacks and ever higher executive compensation, instead of needed capital investments to stop the slide in service and reliability.
    “No other infrastructure industry – electricity, electronic communication or roads – has less backup and reserve capacity than US airlines,” said Paul Hudson, FlyersRights’ president.
    The airlines have created a monster – and should bear the cost of these avoidable shutdowns by making passengers whole instead of dumping the cost and inconvenience on the flying public.
    FlyersRights is writing to the CEO of Delta, calling for passengers be made whole. In addition to urging FAA administrator Michael Huerta and DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx to issue emergency regulations and orders under their legal authority and duty to protect the national
    air transportation system from disruption and chaos.

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