All the permutations of what can go wrong on an airplane are scary enough to speculate about. But here's a frightening reality: the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a warning that a software glitch on 787 Dreamliners could potentially cause aircraft to lose all electrical power.
So, uh, yeah. That's terrifying.
Laboratory tests have revealed that if a 787 is powered without rest for 248 days, generator units will go into what's called failsafe mode. This could happen at any time during the course of a flight, and would shut down all of the aircraft’s electrical power. According to The Independent, 787s are also "vulnerable to hacking attacks" and "difficulties with batteries that have seen them catching fire." Yikes.
Only two US airlines currently use 787s: United, and just recently, American. But plenty of international carriers, including All Nippon Airways, Etihad, and British Airways, all include the Dreamliner in their fleets.
In an effort to fix the problem, the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive, requiring all 787 aircrafts to be regularly switched off, in order to prevent circuits from overflowing. Of course, Boeing is also working on a software fix. But until the problem's resolved, there's just one more thing for you to worry about while you're in the air.
Kara King is a Thrillist intern and SoCal native. She is still trying to make sense of this strange, worldwide phenomenon called “weather.” Follow her attempts to live without all that sunshine at @karatillie.