The people who found themselves traveling on United Airlines recently found themselves NOT traveling at all because the airline basically stopped functioning. And it was all because of some sort of "glitch?"
It could take several days for thousands of stranded travelers to get home after a United Airlines computer system shut down for several hours, leading to widespread cancelations Friday night.
The unspecified "network connectivity" problem was fixed and flights resumed early Saturday, but the airline said delays could persist throughout the weekend. Also, with flights nearly full, there was little room for passengers whose flights had been cancelled to rebook.
"There's literally nowhere to put them," airline analyst Robert Mann said. "There are already very few empty seats on the flights that operate."
Is there any liability when a company fails in such a spectacular manner? I suppose there is, but the real problem is an infrastructure issue. These airlines are operating on tight budgets and there is literally no money to invest in updated systems. Their older methods of communicating and tracking people and flights are aging rapidly. It's not uncommon for a modern company to be using outdated software to run their business--I just left a company that was using software that was old and unstable, primarily because it couldn't afford to upgrade everything in an efficient manner.
How long before something like this causes an even more serious problem?