American airlines confirmed late Tuesday night that it had cancelled a number of flights due to an error with the digital map used by pilots in the cockpit.
“Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads,” American Airlines said in a press release. “In some cases, the flight has had to return to the gate to access a WiFi connection to fix the issue.”
Spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said that “more than a couple dozen flights” were cancelled.
“We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers,” American Airlines said. “We are working to have them on the way to their destination as soon as possible.”
The company blamed a faulty third-party app, not Apple itself.
American Airlines became the first airline, In 2013, to have its pilots rely entirely on iPads for flight planning and navigation. As plans get updated all the time the company cut down on lots of excess paper.
The airline has estimated the program saves the company at least 400,000 gallons of fuel every year. In total, 8,000 iPads replaced 24 million pages of documents.
The issue highlight that while neat technology can have large benefits software isn’t always reliable. Sometimes traditional methods, like ink and paper, are more reliable. Many airlines who have gone digital have extensive paper backup systems in case of such glitches.