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'Delta Down': The system failure which caused this week's delays

Wed, 08/10/2016
Delta Air Lines Delays

This week the airline Delta has been all over the news. A power outage in Atlanta brought down the firm’s computers meaning around 3000 flights had to be cancelled worldwide, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

This airline computer malfunction isn’t the first of its kind; other airlines such as Southwest and United have also been affected by similar problems in the past.

One might assume that a company such as Delta Air Lines, with all its resources, would have enough back-up systems to avoid situations like this week, where the airline’s operation came virtually to a complete stop.

The problem is that airlines cannot distribute their computing to many different locations, as it will make them more vulnerable, and they are constrained in ways that other businesses aren’t as they have to worry much more about safety and security. Hosting systems on a cloud server somewhere else puts them under more risk that they will be accessed by hackers or terrorists.

Airline computer systems are also becoming increasingly complex, as computers must interact with a number of outside systems like mobile applications, travel agents and online stores. Airlines must choose security over more back-up systems, which is why there are likely to be more system failures in the future.

A technical fault is not an extraordinary circumstance, meaning that if a flight is delayed or cancelled for that reason, the airline is liable to pay compensation to the affected travellers. Under EU Regulation the compensation must be paid in cash and not in travel vouchers. Delta is offering 200$ in travel vouchers to affected passengers in the USA, but we are yet to see how they will undergo the pressure to conform with Regulation 261/2004 for those flights affected inside the EU.

If your flight has been delayed, cancelled or you’ve been denied boarding go to Get Paid When Delayed to start you claim. There are no hidden fees and we charge no commission; it’s totally free of charge!