Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pains of Geekdom

Sometimes being a geek has it's issues. Today's issue involves airline travel and smartphone apps and what happens when the two collide in an uncomfortable way. I am flying home tonight on an American Airlines flight. Out of curiosity I pulled out my smartphone to try out a new app called "Tail Tracker". It's quite simple: you enter the tail number of a plane (N566AA in this case) and it pulls up the owner information and airplane info as well as any pictures or history available in public databases.

This particular plane is a McDonnell-Douglas MD-83 manufactured 15.53 years ago with 172 seats and 2 Pratt & Whitney jet engines. The current owner is Wilmington Trust Company out of Delaware leased to American Airlines.

Why is this uncomfortable? I'm about to get on a plane for a 2.5 hour trip. Said plane is over 15 years old. Maybe I'm paranoid but that makes it older than my car, which I may replace in the next year or so. My car is pretty reliable but it hasn't logged hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of miles flying 170+ people for the last 15 years.

Am I paranoid? Would I have even thought about this had it not been for my geeky curiosity?


Update #1 - It's never a good thing when an airport fire truck comes running up to your plane rolling code 3 (lights+sirens). They just sat behind the plane for a few minutes then drove off without getting out. I hope that's a good thing but I'm delayed an hour which means I miss my connecting flight to SeaTac. Ugg. This doesn't help my earlier issue with the plane information. Nervous factor: 5 out of 10.

Update #2 - Made my connecting flight because all flights in/out of DFW were delayed due to a huge thunderstorm. Made it home by 4 am which makes it a 25 hour day. No, I don't sleep in terminals or planes.

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