American Airlines went high-tech two years ago and issued iPads to its pilots. The customized Apple tablets contain all the flight documents that were once stored in paper-form inside of pilot’s cockpit flight bags. The march of technology caused a problem in late April though, after a handful of American Airlines’ flights were delayed when pilots’ iPads went dark. Something that couldn’t have happened when everything was on paper.
One report states the issue was caused by a recent software update that took place about four days ago on the pilots’ iPads. The failure affected only a few pilots’ tablets, and those flights were grounded so the pilots could connect to Wi-Fi at the gate and resolve the issue. Passengers were informed, and many took to Twitter to complain about the delay.
“Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads,” American Airlines tweeted in response. The airline also personally responded to many passengers whose flights were delayed because of the issue.
American Airlines confirmed to CNN that about two dozen flights were delayed due to the iPad outage, but the exact number of flights grounded is currently unknown. Initial reports stated that all 737 airplanes in the American Airlines fleet were delayed by the iPad error, but it was later discovered that pilots’ iPads on other aircrafts were also affected. It’s unknown when the software issue will be completely resolved.
American Airlines issued around 8,000 iPads in 2013 to pilots, so as to substantially lighten their cockpit bags. Previously, pilots carried around 35 pounds of paper documents that were essential to the flight. Now, all those documents are stored on tablets issued to the pilot and co-pilot. Given the importance of these documents, the pilots could not fly without functioning iPads.