December 7, 2021

Are airline systems crashing more, or does it just seem that way?

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By Laura Northrup From Consumerist

It feels like every week brings news of another massive outage of some airline’s computer network, resulting in grounded flights and stranded passengers. However, a new report suggests that it’s not that these networks are failing more frequently, so much as it is that the outages are now affecting more people — and those people now have all new venues for airing their grievances publicly.

Not that long ago, American consumers had many more airlines. In just the last decade, companies like Northwest, Continental, U.S. Airways, and AirTran have all vanished thanks to mergers with competing carriers. What hasn’t always disappeared through this consolidation process are the outdated networks that keep track of everything from reservations through baggage.

As Bloomberg Businessweek explains, now that you have so few airlines using a hodge-podge of antiquated networks, a single outage can have a ripple effect that affects a huge number of travelers.

At the same time, consumers now have myriad ways to immediately let the world know that they won’t be getting home anytime soon. The chorus of angry Tweets and Facebook updates guarantees that everyone — even those who have no reason to care about air travel problems — is aware of an outage.

Just in the last six months, glitches have foiled travel plans and cost airlines hundreds of millions of dollars:



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