The two pilots of a Northwest Airlines jet were using laptops when they flew 240km past their destination.
The pilots said that they were involved in a heated discussion about crew scheduling and that the discussion involved the use of their laptops:
According to a spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board:
The pilots said there was a concentrated period of discussion where they did not monitor the airplane or calls from (air traffic controllers) even though both stated they heard conversation on the radio. Both said they lost track of time.
Air traffic controllers feared that something more sinister might be afoot when they flew 240 kilometers past Minneapolis and did not respond to radio contact.
The veteran pilots became aware of the situation when a flight attendant asked them what time they were scheduled to arrive. After realizing his error, the captain contacted air traffic controllers and asked for permission to turn around.
They were able to land after performing several maneuvers to prove that they were in control of the aircraft.
Delta airlines, Northwest’s parent company, stated that use of laptop computers by pilots in flight is a breach of company policy and that both pilots are suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.