Glitches can cause chaos

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2016

Technology has drastically changed the world, mostly for the better over the years. From advances in health care, the way we communicate with one another, the way we make many purchases, the cars we drive or a smartphone app for just about anything you can imagine are just a few of the examples of how far technology has come.

However, with all the good things technology has allowed us as a society to do, unfortunately we have become extremely reliant on that technology and sometimes it causes many problems.

While many were tucked in bed having sweet dreams early Monday morning, a nightmare was just beginning for Delta Airlines when the company suffered a six-hour worldwide system outage that started in Atlanta. Some members of the Tribune’s advertising staff and I had just passed through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, just a few hours before the outage heading for a training session in Mississippi.

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Knowing we were flying back home on Tuesday, I started looking for all the information I could to determine if our travel plans would be impacted. Unfortunately, information was limited and making that determination was almost impossible. Throughout the day on Monday, Delta only flew about 39 percent of the scheduled flights on Monday that left travelers and the company itself scrambling.

On Tuesday morning, we headed to the airport to make our trek home. But I honestly wasn’t sure what time we would reach our destination because we had to fly back through Atlanta on Delta flights. When we arrived in Atlanta, the Delta customer service desks were packed with passengers, the phone-operated customer service centers had wait times that lasted several hours. The ad staff and I were very lucky with our two flights only departing about 30 minutes late. However, you could see throughout the terminal blankets on the floors from those who were stranded in the airport overnight.

When we boarded our last flight, I could overhear other passengers talking about being in the airport since early Monday evening until Tuesday afternoon. The flight attendant told a story about one of their flights for the day that was ready to depart, backing away from the gate only to be radioed back to the gate that the flight was cancelled.

Some of our colleagues traveling back to their newspapers weren’t so lucky spending more than half a day trying to get home on Tuesday.

We are very fortunate to have the advances in technology that have become a way of life for so many, and in some cases a necessity. However, we must always remember that technology is great until one “glitch” happens and then it is seemingly pure chaos. Whether it is an airline or communicating with your family, we must take that technology with a grain of salt and not always be so heavily reliant.