Delta Air Lines Is Still Using Software From 1988 To Schedule Pilots To Fly [Roundup]

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  1. Delta’s crew scheduling system is probably part of the old “PARS” (Passenger Assignment and Reservation System) system that TWA wrote years ago and Delta bought a 50% interest in and renamed Worldspan. I used it, and while it is rather antiquated, it is damn good and reliable, while very simple to use. I worked for TWA when 9/11 happened and we knew where all of our crews were the entire time and we never lost control the way Southwest did in December. I actually wouldn’t replace it unless it is proven technology. Right before TWA was bought by AA, we were experimenting with a windows-based system, but that was just putting a more user-friendly software program that still did what we were already doing in the background. AA has a good system too that has been gradually upgraded over the decades. But these old legacy systems are very reliable and easy to use. The fact that it is from 1988 isn’t a surprise because why replace something that works really well?

  2. If the software works, there’s great reluctance to modify or replace it. As told to me by an IT director, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

  3. Despite some of this older technology being very reliable there is often still a major issue. Many of these old applications were written in programming languages that are very antiquated. Younger computer programmers don’t know these languages and have little desire to take a deep dive in dying technologies. As senior programmers retire, the depth of knowledge of current team members gets very thin.

  4. Are we surprised. The held onto DC-9 and MD-80 and now 757 and 767 until they are beyond worn out.

  5. Are we surprised. They held onto DC-9 and MD-80 and now 757 and 767 until they are beyond worn out.

  6. I apply that logic to spreadsheets I use hundreds of times a day. I’m never going past Excel 2003.

    They aren’t inventing any more numbers, mathematical equations or logic that I’ll ever need.

    All they do is move things around, change the interface, rename things, give them different icons, etc. and call it an upgrade. Every “good working” piece of software ever.

    But David P has it right, eventually a OS “upgrade” or something else will stop making it backwards compatible. The logic will remain the same but the interface will change dramatically to give the appearance of great new value and of course, training will be necessary. The circle of life…

  7. Windows was invented before the supposed date for DL’s pilot software.
    Like DL’s pilot software, windows and everything else has been upgraded repeatedly…
    which also applies to Delta’s 767s, of which a number managed to successfully cross the Atlantic last night and are back or on their way back today.

    It’s strange that people see age of a machine as finite but don’t hesitate to tell us that they are no longer useful even though younger people can do more at lower cost (fewer doctor visits for one thing) than they can.

    As one commercial says “age is just a number and mine is unlisted” – and that applies to machines as well as humans.

  8. Do you realize the cost of steel, scrap metal, iron, electrical wiring and cables, plastic, labor, etc etc etc?

    Who in their right minds can build new planes everyday? Who would even want to??

    Old planes, old technologies. Those were cutting-edge when those planes were built.

    They’re taking you from point A to point B safely isn’t it?

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