delta airlines computer outage

delta airlines has lost a lot of money this week. dow jones news service reported that they

suffered a meltdown of [their] passenger-reservations computer system monday, causing hundreds of canceled flights and shining another light on the airline industry’s aging technology.

meltdown is total failure.  shining a light on means exposing or revealing. aging means old or getting older (related to the word age).

rattle and hum
bono shining a light on the edge.

originally reported as a power outage (energy failure), the bigger problem delta has is with the systems that run various airline activities. the dow jones news service also said

delta’s problem monday raised questions about whether a recent wave of u.s. airline mergers….have built airlines too large and too reliant on technology systems that date from the 1990s.

raise questions refers to additional doubts generated by this crisis. too means airlines in the u.s. have become excessively large and excessively dependent (reliant) on technology that is at least 20 years old.

delta plane

ashely halsey iii at the washington post explains that the issue affects the entire industry.

behind each of the four big players in the u.s. airline industry — american, united, delta and southwest — there is a tangled computer system pieced together after decades of mergers that married mismatched networks.

tangled means confused or messy.  pieced together gives the idea of several parts being assembled without a vision for the final result.

rapunzel and flynn (eugene) are tangled in her hair.

a merger is two businesses joining to become one. many smaller airlines have combined to form the four giant airlines that exist today.  mismatched is used to describe things that don’t go together. the systems from the many airlines that merged don’t necessarily function well with each other.

fun elt practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

in the washington post article, rick seaney, creator of the travel website broke down why this system failure was weird (strange).

anytime you have a systemwide outage, it either has to be one of the core systems or some sort of networking glitch.  all computer systems have redundancy. typically, almost all companies — especially if you have credit card data — are required to be spread out, sometimes across different countries, to make sure that basically [their network] never goes down.

either/or is used to present alternatives. a glitch is an error, malfuntion.  redundancy in relation to data, means storing the same data in more than one place. spread out means distributed.  go down in this context means crash.

halloween candy spread out on a table
a bunch of candy spread out on a table (

as is typical in any fail situation, third conditional was used  to talk about what went wrong. the headline for the washington post article read

experts say it shouldn’t have happened.

one of the experts, bijan vasigh, a professor at embry-riddle aeronautical university, pointed out

it could have been worse. imagine if this event had happened during thanksgiving or christmas; this would be catastrophic for the airline.

should have happened and could have been follow the structure modal auxiliary verb + have + past participle that is used to express hypothetical situations in the past. if this event had happened is the past perfect structure (auxiliary verb had + past participle). past perfect can be used to express a hypothetical scenario in the past as well.

frustrated delta airlines passengers wait for their flights to be rescheduled
the delays and cancellations shouldn’t have happened, but they could have been worse. (john spink/atlanta constitution journal) interviewed mark drusch,  a former executive at delta and continental airlines, who used the third conditional too regarding the original suggestion that delta’s problems were caused by a power outage.

simply to have a power shortage should not have shut down delta globally.

as delta’s issues come just three weeks after a failed router at southwest airlines caused delays and cancellations, drusch said

this is a wake-up call for all the airlines.

wake-up call indicates that the airlines need to start to pay attention to these problems.

a cock shouting through a megaphone
delta’s computer outage is a wake-up call for the entire airline industry. (forbes)

is air travel taken for granted? will delta’s computer outage crisis be a wake-up call for the airline industry?  share your views under leave a reply




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