Where Technology Seriously Fails us… (or How the FAA Screwed Up)

Technology is an amazing thing and I don’t for one second belittle it, underestimate it or not appreciate absolutely everything about it. Without it we would all be lost. How did we ever survive without voicemail, instant messenging, dvr (digital video recorders), navigation devices in our cars and on our telephones. Even a dummy like me can navigate the web and create a blog. Everything has been done for us. It still amazes me that I can text a message to my husband in another state and get a reply instantly. Other daily necessities, of course, rely on technology too… ATM machines and any transaction made at a store without cash, using a debit or credit card. Online bill paying has become, not only a more efficient way to pay bills, but it’s much more economical. There are no charges (if you do get charged for such) for each handwritten check. For each bill you pay online you save 41 cents (has it gone up again?), and you waste a heck of a lot less paper. Online banking is a good thing, personally and environmentally. I will not digress anymore… But heck, do people still walk around with cash in their wallets? Without my cell phone I would be utterly lost these days. I rarely use the phone at home any more. I simply am never there when I remember that important phone call to be made, or the baby is napping and his sleep is worth my time in gold around here. So I rely on Bluetooth technology. As soon as I get into my car, my phone automatically synchronizes itself to the car I can talk on my phone hands-free while driving. (It is illegal to talk on the phone while driving in Connecticut, though many still do.) New telephones amaze me too. There is a new one that is a mini computer, phone, camera and video camera all in one.

Even the weathermen rely on our advanced technology and depending on which TV station in the New York area you are watching, you have Doppler 2000, Doppler 4000, Doppler 5000 and Doppler 7000… each one better than the other, of course! So, since we now can detect precisely where and at which time lightning will strike, why can’t the airlines better prepare for such said lightning strikes?

Don was to go to Columbus, Ohio yesterday. His flight was due to take off at 5:30 EDT and arrive at Port Columbus two hours later. Fifteen minutes after the plane boarded the Pilot, or Captain, or whatever he is called these days, announced that the airport they were due to fly into was closed due to inclement weather. A short while later, while grounded on the runway of Laguardia Airport in New York, the passengers were then told that they would have to wait because the storm was moving in an easterly direction. At 10:30pm, yes you read that right, the PilotCaptain then told his passengers that they would not be flying. The crew had reached their hourly limit, and the inclement weather was still headed in their direction.

Thanks to modern technology my husband has the capability to text me and keep me posted as to what’s going on… So, my point is this. In this age of internet and super-intelligence my husband can send a written message to me on my cell phone but our aviation system, yes the FAA, can not send out a few text messages to the airlines, which in turn can not text their pilots informing them that the weather is crappy or dangerous or that airports are shut down? Why not? Really, I mean why not? Think of how much money, time and precious energy would have been saved if the FAA had simply text-messaged the airlines and aircraft? My gosh, I wonder how much gas and electricity was wasted last night? We had thirty planes waiting for take-off for 4 hours on the runway, then another hour to wait to get to the gate since there were not enough gates to accommodate all the planes. This is just one airport? How many other runways were clogged by gas-guzzling engines waiting to take off? I admit off the bat that I stink at math, but if anyone else wants to do some research and take a stab at this, I would love to hear the answer!

We are equipped to detonate bombs, foil terrorists plots and toss them in the slammer but we are not equipped to deal with the damned weather. We have supersensitive Xray systems that can detect a trace of explosive smaller than a grain of sand, but we are not equipped to deal with the damned weather.

My husband, stuck on that plane, says it’s no one’s fault… Weather happens. I say bullcrap… Yes, weather happens, but we have the technology and the know how, just not the smarts, to treat people and their time with more respect. I would much rather be grounded at the terminal where I could walk around, get some food or a Starbucks or a stiff drink and use some lavatories without a hundred people waiting on line with me. I would rather wait at my designated gate than sit on the cramped and overcrowded aircraft waiting to get thrombosis in my leg, for it to then travel up to my lungs and kill me. I don’t have the answers, but there has to be a better system than this.

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One thought on “Where Technology Seriously Fails us… (or How the FAA Screwed Up)

  1. I am good at math, but suspect I’d be horrified at the answer, so I won’t take you up on that challenge. I will just shudder at the thought of a lot of needlessly wasted energy.
    And yeah, who wouldn’t rather wait in the airport lounge than cramped up on a plane?
    I’m convinced that airlines have every capability of avoiding such situations, but they just like to make our lives hell. If only there were some other fast way to travel long distances.

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