A number of American Airlines flights were grounded on Tuesday, as an app issue with the iPad devices used by pilots made it impossible to take off. The Verge reports “a few dozen flights” were affected.
“Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads,” American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely later told The Verge. “In some cases, the flight has had to return to the gate to access a Wi-Fi connection to fix the issue. We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers. We are working to have them on the way to their destination as soon as possible.” Another spokesperson said that the issue affected “a few dozen flights” across the airline. “We’ve identified the issue, we’ve identified the solution, and we are working on it right now.”
Passenger Bill Jacaruso was traveling home to Austin from Dallas/Fort Worth, on flight AA1654 with his wife, Toni. “We got on the plane and it was supposed to leave at 8:20PM CT. We got on at 8 and just sat there,” Jacaruso told The Verge. He then said the pilot got on the intercom after a while and said that his copilot’s iPad went blank, then 24 minutes later the pilot’s went blank too.
The pilot then announced that all iPads on 737 airliners were affected. 45 minutes later, the pilot came back on and said that it wasn’t just all 737s, but appeared to be random. The passengers eventually deplaned, and Jacaruso rented a car to drive to Austin. A passenger on another flight told The Verge that two systems had failed, and had to be “completely rebooted.”
Kristin Thompson, a passenger flying from JFK to Seattle on SS235, tells The Verge that two systems failed and had to be “completely rebooted.”
American Airlines was the first airline to begin allowing its flight crews to use the iPad on the flight deck, receiving FAA approval back in 2011. In 2013, the airline began giving its pilots Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) containing the iPads, the first major commercial airline to make the move.