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BA tells Y2K bug to take flying jump

Hacks dismiss publicity stunt as, err, publicity stunt

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The 'World's Favourite Airline' claims that it has vanquished the millennium bug, having flown a test flight with all systems set to New Year's Eve 1999. But according to a report in today's Evening Standard, some IT journalists and computer experts dismissed the British Airways (BA) flight as a publicity stunt, calling it "utterly irrelevant." Karl Fielder, chief executive of Greenwich Mean Time and a columnist for Computer Weekly, commented: "I am astounded that they should waste everybody's time on what is nothing more than a publicity stunt. We have said many times that the problem will not just occur on millennium night but in 2001, 2002 etc." Perhaps he was expecting the plane to crash. Who knows. Who cares. The Register asked BA what it thought about his comments and a spokeswoman said that he had obviously missed the point. "Of course it was a publicity stunt," she said. "We wouldn't have taken a plane load of journalists up if we didn't want it to get in the papers." Quite so. She said that the point of the exercise had been to dispel the notion that on the eve of the next century, planes will be dropping from the sky, and to reassure passengers that they would be able to return home from a trip booked over the date change period. BA is unable to guarantee that baggage handling will be working, but from this reporter's experience, that is not a problem exclusive to the millennium. Also, of the plane load of BA staff and reporters that flew through the simulated date change, not one person asked for a parachute. ®

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