Yet Another Computer Glitch Cripples Air Travel

from the too-long-without-one-of-those dept

It was an all too familiar scene at Los Angeles International Airport this weekend, as a computer glitch temporarily left 20,000 passengers stranded. This summer has seen a bevy of glitches and delays, as the civil aviation infrastructure gets stretched to the breaking point. This time, the failure was not on the part of the airlines, but on the US Customs service, which prevented passengers from properly getting screened. Obviously, glitches are going to happen now and then, and so it’s not a realistic solution to simply eliminate them. But seeing as every minor ripple ends up creating such a calamity, costing millions in lost time and profits, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on developing systems that fail gracefully.

Filed Under: ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Yet Another Computer Glitch Cripples Air Travel”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
freak3dot says:

“Maybe the terrorists hacked the system and crashed it, hoping that customs would just let everyone enter the country instead of making thousands wait for many long hours.”

Are the terrorists that smart? That’s probably giving people who strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up to kill a few civilians too much credit…


Michael Sewell says:

Re: Re:

“Are the terrorists that smart? That’s probably giving people who strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up to kill a few civilians too much credit…”

freak3dot even though they do have suicide bombers, many of the higher ups have at least a Masters in some computer related field so saying that is giving them a little to much credit is grossly underestimating them.

They just don’t do it because it would be too easy to trace with all the security in place.

Vincent Clement says:

“That system allows our officers to make decisions on who we can allow to enter the US”

Why even have officers? Let the computer make the decision. Don’t pass muster? The floor opens you up and fall down a tube to a room for a more rigorous interview 😉

“Homeland Security officials blamed the malfunction on the fibre optic cables that support the system used to process international passengers”

That would be a hardware glitch. So who severed the cables by ‘accident’? Don’t these people know anything about backup systems and redundancy? Maybe we should let Google handle the hardware side.

illegalprelude says:

the thing is, that it wasnt just a minor glitch in terms of, many people were delayed for 4-7 hours. Some on the runway, some not. That is imho just an outrage for their computer systems to go down in such a manor and finally begin to work with only 2 laptops.

Can anybody say next week “missing laptops, personal information of thousands leaked”

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Re:

But you can have redundancy for a computer system.

Also, you have the ultimate redundancy in the Customs officers themselves. They could have processed people the ‘old-fashioned’ way: by asking questions, looking at ID and looking through suitcases etc. But hey, Customs has become a slave to the machines.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...