Apple Maps leads drivers onto Alaska airport taxiway

Drivers using Apple Maps to get to the Fairbanks International Airport apparently followed directions that told them to turn onto a taxiway. The drivers then crossed a runway to get to the terminal.

Apple Maps directions
This is not the way to get to the passenger terminal at the Fairbanks airport. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

According to Apple Maps, it's 3,550 miles from my house to the Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska. It will take me 64 hours of non-stop driving to get there. Oh, and I'll need to drive down a taxiway used by airplanes to reach my destination.

According to the Alaska Dispatch, an iOS Maps app flaw has led two inattentive out-of-town drivers to unquestioningly follow their iPhones down Taxiway B over the last few weeks, despite a gate and sign meant to deter exactly that sort of behavior.

The drivers following the directions ended up crossing a runway of their own accord to reach the passenger terminal, though the app doesn't specify to do this. Fortunately, no accidents have occurred. New barricades are designed to avert the problem until the directions are corrected.

The airport also issued an alert to pilots and staff, saying, "As always, please remain vigilant when on the east ramp, watch for drivers who appear unfamiliar and report them to the airport."

As of the time of writing, the flaw is still present in the Maps app, but Apple has assured the state that the problem will be fixed very soon, according to airport officials.

And -- as if I really need to say this -- remember that GPS is not the boss of you. Common sense should always override obviously bad directions.

About the author

Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET's Crave blog. When not wallowing in weird gadgets and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

 

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