How my iPhone made me miss my first flight of the year

It was 2:00 AM on a brand new and sparkling year, 2011 to be exact. I was aware that I had to wake up at 3:30 am to get ready and head out to the airport by 4:00 AM, this would give me plenty of time at the airport to check-in and to make it to my flight since my flight was not taking off until 5:40 AM. This was a business trip that had been planned months ahead and that it was necessary for me to fulfill without any error. If I remember correctly I was on a conference call 6 months earlier talking about how I already had to reserve January 1st for this business trip. That is how far in advance my schedule for this trip was set up.

As an iPhone owner that has grown to rely on the integrated alarm clock I set up my alarm but something was telling me that I was going to miss the flight and I was going to wake up late, I guess its the same feeling everyone has when traveling and all of the sudden feels the fear of missing a flight. So my wife set up her alarm clock on her iPhone as well, this would help us have double assurance that everything was going to work out as planned. Now, lets remember that this is January 1st at 2:00 AM and we received the new year with two kids in bed, watching a TV show and chatting about the new events of the new 2011 so it is not like my fear was grounded due to excess of partying but rather it was probably only due to all the planning that was involved ahead of time was keeping me on my toes for this day.

When I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep at some point I considered going to the living room and doing some preliminary work which would keep me awake until 3:30 AM to get ready for the flight but I figured an hour and a half of sleeping was well worth it since I was going to be working and traveling at least until 10:00 PM the same day. Besides we had two alarm clocks, What could go wrong?

Fast forward to 6:09 AM. An email from my bank came in to report the current balance of my personal account as it does every day but this time was different, it came in with a “Bing”! which woke my wife and I. At this time I was not aware of what time it was but I knew it was later (or earlier depending on how you see it) since a glimpse of light was coming through the bedroom curtains. I knew I was in trouble. I quickly picked up my iPhone and saw it was after 6:00 AM and that there was no way I was making it to the airport to my flight, rapidly I started running ideas through my head trying to figure out what to do and how to “fix” this issue. While I was trying to figure out what to do I kept repeating to myself – I knew I was going to oversleep – I fired up the Delta iPhone app and checked for the next flights available from my city to my destination. The next flight was at 6:45 AM, I knew it would take me at least 30 minutes to get to the airport plus the flight change at the front desk and going through security there was no way I was going to make it. So I browsed through the app and the next direct flight was not until 11:45 AM. Too late.

I realized it was time to do damage control, I fired off some emails and waited for everyone else to wake up in my destination area so I could let them know that I definitely missed my flight and that I was not going to fulfill this business trip.

While I was in my home office browsing through the world news, waiting for email responses I ran across a post that stated that there is in fact a software glitch on the iPhone for January 1, 2011. After reading the post it all made sense,

1. There was not a “Snooze” screen on my phone indicating that I had slept through the alarm clock and that it tried to wake me up.
2. How was it possible that the one sound of an incoming email woke us up but not the continuous sound of an alarm?

We had been victims of the software glitch.

I fired up twitter and there multiple reports of people missing work or similar due to the alarm issue so I knew I was not alone. If you do a search in google you can find multiple sites describing the issue.

Interestingly enough some people are replying to the posts with “Give it a rest” or “It’s just an alarm clock, no a big deal”.

I will agree with some people who say it is not a big deal since it is just an alarm, but when you have grown to rely on the alarm for important occasions, it becomes a big deal. I did learn my lesson and for the important dates I will go back to a good old battery-powered alarm clock, or maybe two.

What a great way to start the sparkling new year!
* Missed first flight of the year [check]
* Missed first meeting of the year [check]

If you were in my shoes would you attribute these issues to a wonderful software glitch by Mr. Jobs or would you assume it is all your own fault?

26 thoughts on “How my iPhone made me miss my first flight of the year”

  1. Oh man, that sucks! I too have fallen victim to the iPhone
    alarm not working as intended. Prior versions of the alarm would
    fail to go off if certain push notifications go off and aren’t
    closed before the alarm goes off. I’ve also seen the sound
    functionality of very old iOS give out on the phone (back in the
    iPhone 3g days) and of course, if you accidentally hit the silence
    button there’s no way you will hear the alarm. The last official
    bug with the alarm made me a bit late for work, when the daylight
    savings time didn’t switch correctly. Apple really “really” needs
    to get the alarm on the iPhone fixed. Such a simple feature that is
    so important to many (especially traveling) and there have been
    many glitches with it. I’ve learned that if its critical that you
    wake up at a certain time, relying on the phone’s alarm is not a
    good idea.

  2. Sorry mate but honestly on review – yep- it’s your fault.
    If it was that important I would set two alarms for me on my side
    of the bed. And if I was going to be sleep deprived upon the alarm
    ringing, I would have the alarm over the other side of teh room,
    necessitating me to get up to snooze it. My wife glares at me when
    I do this as she hates two alarms going off, but there’s nothing
    like a good backup. I always consider my mobile phone (any mobile)
    as alarm #2 and never rely on it solely. Even in hotels I’ll book a
    wake up call as well as the phone alarm and bedside clock radio.
    But, by way of lifting you, I’d like to add that this post is
    terrific and a worthy thought jogger. I’ll spread it for you 🙂
    hope your damage control plan created forgiveness in those that you
    upset. @PedroStephano

  3. I didn’t miss a flight, but I am equally dependent on my
    phone as my alarm as I’m sure millions of others are. What
    frustrates me is that this is the second major iPhone alarm bug to
    occur in a year, the first caused by Daylight Savings Time. Apple
    released the 4.2.1 update which fixed the DST bug (but only after
    DST had passed), and somehow they missed this? With the attention
    to detail Apple puts into things, you would think they would have
    caught this one. Let’s hope this is the last of the alarm
    bugs.

  4. ouch, sorry to hear that. But yes, people have been
    reporting this on twitter since earlier yesterday (right after
    midnight in Japan) and seems very similar to the bug that plagued
    Australia on last daylight saving time.. Hope at least you can join
    them by video conferencing or call. Cheers!

  5. From an outside point of view, it was your fault (but OTOH
    if I was the one suffering this, I would blame the iPhone, of
    course!). In your case I would have done the work. I usually have a
    very strong physiological clock and usually wake up 30 minutes
    before my alarm rings, in days when I need to be sure to be awake
    at a certain time. If I know I would sleep for 12 hours (as I was
    sure would happen a certain time), I set two alarm clocks: my phone
    (which is not an iPhone, it’s a really old Nokia) and my iPod
    Touch, with a small delay from one to the other. As an end note, I
    hope that you managed to control losses from missing that flight
    and it wasn’t that bad. And I hope Apple makes sure this does not
    happen again, ever. Cheers, Ruben

  6. I feel your pain, but if your business trip is important, why not set 2 different alarms (one on your iPhone and one on an alarm clock)?

  7. Silly bug that you are… What’s the purpose of your post? Get Apple to reimburse you for the flight you missed by not going to bed on time. We all know drinking until 2am to get up 90 mins later is not a realistic expectation.

    By the way, WTF plans a meeting on Jan 1st?

  8. @Steve, what do you mean to “the other one”?

    We had two iPhones and none of them went off. Both suffered from the same bug.

    Also, I have done several trips around the same time and never had an issue so I learned to relay on the iphone to do the work.

  9. @John,

    I’m not expecting Apple to reimburse me for the flight 🙂 and to be honest with you I know the best thing would have been staying up until 3:30 to get ready for my trip. I was just hoping to get a little bit of rest before the flight and I was not drinking at all.

  10. Alarm glitch bit me this morning, too. It’s not your fault. If a phone (or anything) has an alarm clock, it should just work. No excuse for that.

  11. I have little confidence that I’ll wake to my phone’s
    alarms and I had no alarm clock in the room where I was staying
    with relatives last night. So as insurance, I had wakerupper.com
    give me a call as well. Worked like a charm this morning.

  12. Man that sucks – not a good way to start the year – on the
    other hand there is a reason why its called a
    “soft”ware….

  13. A phone is a phone, an alarm clock is an alarm clock.
    An iPhone fails at both tasks.

    Apple’s fault for an inferior product, your fault for buying [and using] it.

  14. My fiancée lost his job this morning because of the glitch
    in the iPhone alarm. He was late yesterday as well for the same
    reason. We both set our iPhones and neither alarm went off. We
    assumed that we had slept through it, especially when my alarm for
    my birth control, which is reoccurring, went off as scheduled. Then
    this morning we had the same issue and now he has lost his job. I
    understand that there are going to be problems wiith phones amd
    software but why the fuck didn’t they send an email, post, or
    anything to warn us?!

  15. If I were running on no sleep and planning on only getting 90 minutes of shuteye before a flight, I am pretty sure I would have not relied solely an iPhone to wake me up in time.

    Blame the iPhone for not working properly. It deserves it. However, blame yourself for poor planning while you are at it.

  16. Hi Derek.

    Thanks for the reminder and I am fully aware that I am responsible for the outcome of this event and for relaying only on the alarm of two different iPhones. However, I don’t think I should call this “poor planning” since I have used the same device before without fail and with a very similar schedule so in my mind the event was planned properly.

    Yet again some one pointed out that a different kind of hardware should have been used as a backup instead of a similar device.

    Lesson learned.

  17. This story is identical to ours this morning, only my
    husband missed a 6:55 a.m. to Chicago and was able to get on a 1
    p.m. – for $250 more! And in addition to him setting his alarm on
    his iPhone, I set mine for backup, and our son-in-law set his also,
    who was to take him to the airport – who also has an iPhone. Triple
    whammy. Wish I had heard about this yesterday. Luckily, his
    business meeting isn’t until Monday morning.

  18. I think it is your instinct to stay awake and do some work until 3 am.. anyways there is a reason
    why it happens..great post!

Comments are closed.