Will June 29th Be A Big Cluster#@$! For Airlines?

Matt writes in to warn us all not to fly on June 29th and 30th if we can help it, because the 29th is when flight plans for all domestic flights have to switch over to the international standard. Matt adds that it’s just his personal opinion, so we’re not sure how worried we should really be (remember the fake-out of the Y2K bug?). But then again, we’re talking about airlines, so at the very least you should pack some extra energy bars if you’re traveling on the day of the switchover.

I just wanted to point something out that is not very publicized yet. On June 29th, the FAA will switch to a different filing method for flights in the USA. They are switching to what is called and “ICAO Flight Plan”, which is the international standard that the rest of the world uses. This is like going from standard to metric for the aviation world.

Because so many airlines and FAA computers are old and talk to so many agencies, there is a strong chance that something will go wrong. At the large airline I work at, some are calling it “D-Day”, since it is a cold-turkey switch. We are talking about a brand-new way for ALL airlines to file domestic flight plans, and they are all doing it for the first time on June 29th.

If you can avoid it, I would probably not fly June 29-30. Just my opinion, but this represents a pretty big switch for the nation’s air travel system and there is a chance that this could cause big headaches.

“Flight Plan Instructions: New Implementation Date – June 29, 2008” [Federal Aviation Administration]