Starting in the summer of 2011, a number of airlines, including Alaska Airlines and Delta, began replacing voluminous paper manuals with iPads on some of its planes. The iPads came pre-loaded with anything and everything a pilot might need to access during a flight, including aeronautical charts, operating manuals, along with a slew of other reference materials.
By 2013, this practice became commonplace, so much so that American Airlines began using iPads across its entire fleet of aircraft, the first major commercial airline to do so.
And so, as luck would have it, American Airlines is also the first major airline to see its planes grounded due to malfunctioning iPads. On Tuesday evening, a number of iPads designated for cockpit use began shutting down unexpectedly, causing a number of flight delays across major U.S. cities.
American Airlines flights experienced significant delays this evening after pilots’ iPads—which the airline uses to distribute flight plans and other information to the crew—abruptly crashed. “Several dozen” flights were affected by the outage, according to a spokesperson for the airline.
Ultimately, a number of flights had to taxi back to the gate in order to get a Wi-Fi connection so that they could address and fix the problem.
Speaking to The Verge, an American Airlines spokesperson said that the airline had identified the problem and come up with a solution that they had already begun implementing.