A systems which planes routes for planes over most of the U.S. East Coast so that they don’t collide became unusable after if offered conflicting flight patterns, resulting in hundreds of flights being grounded and at least as many suffering great delays, to the dismay of passengers on Saturdays. Tens of airports suffered intense bottlenecks as thousands of passengers had to wait to see if their flight was cancelled or reprogrammed.
The FAA went into investigating the causes of the glitch. At the time of writing it had not yet exactly discovered them, but they did point an air traffic center in Virginia as the cause of the issue. Fortunately, no aerial or landing incidents were caused by the glitch.
But passengers weren’t really relieved by this as thousands waiting for their scheduled flight voiced their discontent at the situation. Airports in Washington D.C. were particularly hard hit by the glitch, as more than 30 outbound flight were cancelled in the city alone. All flights headed towards the Reagan National Airport and Marshall Airport were cancelled and reprogrammed for Sunday, as passengers were forced to spend the night in the terminals – or in hotels, if lucky enough to have been offered by the airline they were travelling with.
However, this was rarely the case, as most passengers were furious for not being announced about the causes. The FAA first offered details about the glitch around 4:30 p.m, after the flight ban was clearing up, while airlines and airports were informing customers of different stories.
The event was also the subject of intense discussion on social media, with some dubbing it as the “flypocalypse”. Adding to the chorus of unsatisfied passengers, who voiced their anger at the situation through Facebook or Twitter, were others proposing the theory that hackers were behind the glitch. While this would fall into the recent pattern of important hacker attacks happening in the last 12 months, the FAA said that it had no cause to believe the glitch was the result of a malicious informational attack.
Even if the FAA managed to fix the problem, this leaves airlines in a tight situation where they need to somehow reprogram thousands of passengers on Sunday. No matter how they will choose to handle the problem, they will be probably faced with official complaints and even lawsuits from unhappy customers.
strong>Image Source: NDTV