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Will airline computer bugs infest your next trip?

For reasons not related to weather, this winter has been stormy for airline passengers. From JetBlue's software problems to US Airways' continuing reservation-system woes, the traveling public is suffering from airlines' inability to roll out functional systems.

What does all of this portend? I think this piece by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's David Bear does an excellent job of connecting the dots and predicting some likely (bad) outcomes. Bear writes that the trend away from paper tickets puts travelers at risk when computer systems malfunction, because, "E-tickets don't offer passengers the same proof of purchase or transferability that paper tickets did." And, given that the airlines running those computer systems are "slow to own up to and address the mounting problems," more trouble could be on the horizon.

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Let's hope that airline executives heed Bear's call and aren't so eager to expose passengers to computer systems not yet ready for beta testing.

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