There are those who don’t use the Internet, and then there are the people who can’t tear themselves away from it long enough to realize they’re driving onto an airport runway. You can’t blame everything on the checkered past of Apple’s map app for iPhones, after all.
Drivers from out of town relying on the map app’s directions in Alaska to get to Fairbanks International Airport were successful in that they reached their destination, reports the Alaska Dispatch, but once they got there they happened to cross a runway.
The paper says that at least twice in the past three weeks, drivers following those directions ended up driving to the airport ramp side of the passenger terminal. And no, if you drive your car fast enough on the runway it will not take off, points out my astute colleague Laura Northrup.
“These folks drove past several signs. They even drove past a gate. None of that cued them that they did something inappropriate,” said the chief of operations at the Fairbanks airport.
The turn-by-turn directions had drivers using an access route that pilots use to get to another ramp on the other side of the runway. Once drivers get to a certain taxiway, the directions don’t say to actually cross the main runway. But hey, there it is in the distance, why not drive to it? Because that’s a bad idea.
When all the signs are pointing out that you’re about to enter a place filled with huge machines and dangerous engines, you need to take your head out of your iPhone and pay attention to the real world.
Apple’s legal department reportedly said the problem would be fixed promptly, but airport officials say it hasn’t happened yet.
“We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this,” the chief of operations said.
In the meantime, there are new barricades in place and air crews have been warned to stay alert.
“As always, please remain vigilant when on the east ramp, watch for drivers who appear unfamiliar and report them to the airport,” users of the east ramp were advised.
Previously in misguided Apple maps drivers: Aussie Police Warn Against Using Apple Maps Lest You End Up Lost In The Wilderness
iPhone map app directs Fairbanks drivers onto airport taxiway [Alaska Dispatch]