After Delta: Understanding The Computers That Run Our Biggest Airlines

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Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this interview. 

Early Monday morning, a glitch in Delta's mission control center in Atlanta caused significant damage to the airline's daily operations. Hundreds of flights were grounded, and even more delayed. It was any traveler's nightmare. 

Both experts and airlines agree that this glitch is highly unusual and doesn't threaten the safety of passengers — just their schedules. But how could a small outage cause such a crisis? Experts say it has to do with how aged and complicated the systems behind our biggest airlines are.

Here to untangle these systems is one of these experts,  Barbara Peterson, a writer specializing in aviation and travel and author of "Blue Streak: Inside JetBlue, the Upstart that Rocked an Industry."